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New Typhoon Heading for SE China
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As millions of people in south China still struggle with the aftermath of typhoon Prapiroon, a new tropical storm is approaching and expected to affect coastal areas in southeastern China.


Zhejiang Provincial Observatory Station yesterday issued an emergency gale alert, saying that Bopha, one of three tropical storms forming in the western Pacific, is gaining strength.


Relevant departments in this region should pay close attention to the future route of the storm, the station warned.


Bopha, the ninth tropical storm this year, is expected to make landfall in northern Taiwan tonight or tomorrow morning as a relatively weak category one typhoon, reports said.


Tropical storm Saomai was also moving towards Taiwan from the southeast, with a maximum sustained wind speed of 119 kilometers per hour and gusts up to 155 kilometers per hour, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said yesterday on its website.


In the wake of Prapiroon, residents of typhoon-ravaged Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan in south China continued trying to rebuild their homes as the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported yesterday that the death toll from the storm has climbed to 80 with nine still missing.


As the sixth typhoon of the year, Prapiroon, which means "God of Rain" in Thai, has affected 10.3 million people, razed 29,000 rooms and caused direct economic losses of 7.23 billion yuan (US$900 million), said the ministry.


Moreover, the ministry has dispatched a work panel to Panjin in northeast China's Liaoning Province, where heavy rain has led to severe flooding, according to a news release yesterday.


From July 29 to August 6, heavy flooding has affected 1.26 million people, forced the relocation of 115,000 and razed 110,000 rooms in eight cities, such as Shenyang, Dalian, Panjin and Dandong, it added.


The ministry also allocated 1,500 tents to the disaster-hit region. A total of 15 million yuan (US$1.9 million) of disaster relief funds have also been arranged by local governments to relocate and help the victims.


Medium to heavy torrential rains are forecast in southern Yunnan Province after Prapiroon has been downgraded from tropical storm to low-pressure cell, the Central Meteorological Office said yesterday.


Thunderstorms, hailstones and gales are forecast in a large area ranging from northeast and north China to regions between the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers over the next two days, the office said.


(China Daily August 8, 2006)

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