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26 Killed as Sinlaku Pushes West
Twenty-six people were killed and five reported missing as Sinlaku, the 16th typhoon in China this year, struck East China's Zhejiang and Fujian provinces on Saturday.

More than 7.21 million people and 170,000 hectares of farmland have been affected and 7,900 houses damaged.

In the most severely hit Wenzhou of Zhejiang, 16 people have been killed and 3,800 houses damaged.

Property damage in Wenzhou was estimated at 979 million yuan (US$118 million), the Wenzhou Anti-flood Headquarters said yesterday.

Local officials said casualties could have been even greater if timely evacuations of local residents were not carried out.

More than 300,000 residents had been evacuated to safer areas in Zhejiang before the arrival of typhoon, 190,000 of them were from Wenzhou.

Fifteen thousand fishing ships were also pulled into harbor and half of the water levels were drained at dams to leave space for the coming rain.

The typhoon hit at 6:30 pm on Saturday, in the coastal county of Cangnan in Wenzhou, bringing torrential rain and strong winds and causing 300 million yuan (US$36.14 million) in economic damages to the county, initial reports showed.

With maximum sustained winds with a force of 12 and greater, the typhoon is reported to be moving further west at a speed of 20 to 25 kilometers per hour. At 9 pm, it entered East China's Fujian Province with less strength.

In Fujian, 170,000 local residents retreated to higher ground with the help of the local government.

Sinlaku, named after a legendary goddess in Micronesia, brought serious storms to most of areas in southern Zhejiang and dumped about 350 millimeters of rain in some of the most hard-hit areas as in Wenzhou from Friday night to Saturday night.

Local reports in Cangnan said that the storm tore down 55 houses in the first half an hour, causing 35 injuries.

More than 50 percent of the county was without electricity and about 13,300 hectares of crops, 50 kilometers of roads and 50 or so fishing ships were damaged.

Local officials said that apart from Cangnan, which was hit directly by the typhoon, the damage to the entire province is not serious.

However, weather forecasters said that the typhoon has affected the spring tide and as a result, tide levels have far exceeded the highest historical records in southern Zhejiang as of yesterday.

It is estimated that in the next few days, a powerful storm tide will likely hit the Qiantang River, and the possible damage caused by that could be just a little less than the damage caused by a tsunami.

Tide levels are likely to be 60 to 250 centimeters higher than normal in Hangzhou Bay and Fujian.

Last Thursday Sinlaku battered Japan's Okinawa Island, leaving five Philippine sailors missing and injuring at least 29 people.

The next day it soaked Taiwan leaving two missing.

(China Daily September 9, 2002)

Typhoon Sinlaku Has Killed 23 in Zhejiang
Typhoon Sinlaku Heads for Southeast China Coast
Typhoon Sinlaku Churns toward Northern Taiwan
National Meteorological Center of China (NMC)
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