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500,000 Evacuated as Kaemi Makes Landfall
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Typhoon Kaemi struck the coast of east China's Fujian Province yesterday afternoon, prompting the evacuation of more than 500,000 residents.


The typhoon which pummeled Taiwan overnight, causing widespread disruption to daily life but not enormous damage packed winds of up to 120 kilometers per hour as it landed at Weitou town of Jinjiang city at 3:50 PM, the China Meteorological Administration reported.


Meteorologists forecast that Kaemi the fifth typhoon of the year would move northwest and bring torrential rains to Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces in the next two days.


In anticipation of Kaemi's wrath, more than 435,000 people were evacuated from Fujian, while another 80,000 were moved from their homes in neighboring Zhejiang Province.


The typhoon had earlier brushed past the Philippines, causing heavy rain there.


The evacuees in Fujian include those working in fish farms on the sea, fishermen and residents in low-lying areas, Xinhua News Agency said.


About 44,000 fishing boats were ordered to return to harbor by yesterday, while flights from Xiamen city were postponed or cancelled.


Local authorities were advised to monitor the safety of people living in makeshift shelters at coal mines and in mountainous areas and to boost patrols along reservoirs and dams in preparation for flooding.


Fujian is ready with 12,000 tents, 50,000 quilts, 80,000 items of clothing and a five-day supply of food for 300,000 people, Xinhua said.


Guangdong Province urged all fishing ships to return to local shelters and ordered construction sites to stop work during storms.


In Shantou alone, more than 2,700 ships have returned to harbors, with all fishermen leaving the vessels by noon yesterday.


Frequent storms and typhoons since June have resulted in heavy casualties and huge losses.


The nation is still counting the dead and picking up the pieces in the aftermath of Typhoon Bilis, which swept through five provinces including Fujian less than two weeks ago.


It caused 612 deaths with 208 people missing, and led to the evacuation of nearly 3 million people, according to figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.


At least 29.6 million people in Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were affected. The total losses amounted to 26.6 billion yuan (US$3.3 billion).


The Asian Development Bank has granted a US$200 million loan to central China's Hunan Province to deal with flood relief work, Xinhua reported.


The province was the hardest hit by Bilis, and at least 346 people died in flooding over the past two weeks.


The loan will help strengthen flood control measures, especially around Dongting Lake in the northern part of the province, the bank said in a statement.


(China Daily July 26, 2006)

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