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Typhoon Kaemi Kills 18
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As of 11 AM Thursday, the death toll from Typhoon Kaemi and the ensuing natural disasters has risen to 18 on the Chinese mainland as nine more fatalities were confirmed in eastern Jiangxi Province Thursday morning.

Floods and landslides have so far claimed 16 lives in the province, with 64 still missing, according to the provincial flood control headquarters.

Six of the new deaths came after a mountain torrent on Wednesday morning washed away a military barracks in Jiangxi, which also left 38 missing.

In addition, three more villagers' bodies were found at the county of Shangyou, the worst-hit place since Typhoon Kaemi entered Jiangxi on Tuesday, said Ye Yuzhong, vice mayor of Ganzhou City, who is supervising the rescue operation in the county.

Earlier reports said Kaemi, the fifth of the year made landfall at 11:45 PM on July 24 at Taitung of Taiwan Island, entered into the Taiwan Straits at around 4:00 AM on July 25 and hit Jinjiang of Fujian at 3:50 PM the same day.

The typhoon, meaning "ant" in Korean have brought continuous rainstorm and triggered landslides and floods as it swept along the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi and Hunan.

Though exact loss brought by Kaemi to the Chinese mainland is still unavailable due to the breakdown of communication and traffic systems in the affected areas, the typhoon has forced more than 700,000 people to move elsewhere.

In Jiangxi alone, at least 329,000 people have been affected by rainstorms and ensuing disasters, 9,210 houses were toppled down and 6,400 hectares of farmland were spoiled. Direct economic losses were estimated at 150 million yuan (US$18.75 million), according to the provincial flood and drought relief office.

The provincial observatory of Jiangxi forecasted rainstorm would continue soaking the whole province on Thursday though Kaemi weakened to tropical low press on Wednesday. Local governments are warned to heighten vigilance against ensuing disasters.

South China's Guangdong Province also reported two deaths by the office of the National Natural Disaster Reduction Committee, while local authorities are still counting the missing and affected population.

As typhoon Kaemi triggered flood and landslide in central China's Hunan Province on Wednesday, seven people were reportedly missing, but four of them had been found by Thursday morning.

(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2006)

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