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Damrey Toll Rises to 25, Losses Heavier Than Expected

The death toll from Typhoon Damrey in China's southernmost island province of Hainan rose to 25 as of Thursday, Governor Wei Liucheng told China News Service, adding that casualties and economic losses were heavier than expected.

A special government work group led by Cheng Dianlong, vice director of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, has reported that the damage caused by Damrey in Hainan is more severe than the central government had expected.

According to the team's investigations, the major cause of death was accidents, including falling trees, landslides and torrents.

Economic losses were estimated at 11.6 billion yuan (about US$1.5 billion). Damrey has almost wiped out the province's aquaculture industry and has severely damaged this season's farm yield of rubber, tropical fruit and vegetables as well as the power grid system and water conservancy facilities.

The resort island has managed to restore 85 percent of its power supply, and has allocated 26.5 million yuan (US$3 million) in relief funds to ensure that survivors have sufficient food, clothes and shelter. Local government is also hopeful that the coming National Day holiday week will bring in some profits to help ease the situation.

The team's final report will be submitted to the central government so that solutions and suggestions can be worked out for further disaster relief, Cheng added.

(Xinhua News Agency, Chinanews.com September 30, 2005)

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