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Death Toll from Typhoon Saomai Rises to 255 in China
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The death toll from typhoon Saomai had risen to 255 in China by 2 PM Monday, with another 41 bodies discovered in Fuding city in east China's Fujian Province.

Over 160 others are still missing after Saomai wrought havoc in the eastern provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangxi.

In Fuding, the worst hit city in Fujian, 138 people were killed,1,350 injured and 86 others still missing.

Officials with Fujian Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said most of the people were killed when the super strong typhoon broke the moorings on their ships which had sought shelter in the harbor.

The others were killed in typhoon-triggered incidents on land such as floods, landslides and mud-flows.

Local authorities and residents are still searching for the missing.

The Fuding death toll update brings total fatalities in Fujian to a staggering 166.

Previous reports listed 87 dead and 52 missing in east China's Zhejiang Province where Saomai barreled in, and two dead and one missing in nearby Jiangxi Province.

Also in Zhejiang, at least 2.1 million people have been affected, 18,000 houses destroyed, 56 provincial roads and national highways swamped, causing losses of 4.89 billion yuan (US$611 million).

In Fuding, the storm damaged an 1,146-year-old Buddhist temple,

collapsing its gate house and 20 other buildings. The damage to the Ziguo temple totaled 5 million yuan (US$625,000).

Saomai, the eighth typhoon in China this year, slammed into Cangnan County of Wenzhou City at 5:25 PM Thursday. It was downgraded to a tropical depression by 11 AM Friday.

Saomai, the most powerful typhoon over the past 50 years, killed at least two people in the Philippines earlier and dumped rain on Japan.

According to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), another two tropical storms, Sonamu and Wukong, were respectively located at latitude 18.1 north, longitude 129.9 east and latitude 26.4 north, longitude 138.0 east. CMA experts believe they will not affect China in the next couple of days.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2006)

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