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China signals tropical storm alerts
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China's meteorological and disaster relief departments set in place emergency response plans on Tuesday as two tropical storms moved toward southeastern and southern coasts.

The State Disaster Relief Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs has advised local governments in six provinces and autonomous regions to prepare for the approaching storms.

The governments have been further urged by State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters to increase checks on buildings, construction sites, municipal infrastructure and reservoirs for weaknesses that could make them vulnerable to floods.

Guangdong and Hainan Provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the south are expected to bear the brunt of Goni, the seventh tropical to menace China this year.

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said early on Tuesday Goni was likely to hit coastal areas from Hong Kong to Taishan, Guangdong, as early as Wednesday noon.

Strong winds, dangerous seas and heavy rains are expected in the South China Sea and costal areas in Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The civil affairs ministry asked local departments to stay on high alert for possible flooding and other disasters, while preparing evacuation plans

Fishery companies and offshore aquatic farms in those areas have also been alerted about the storm.

The ministry ordered three disaster relief centers in the cities of Hefei, Changsha and Nanning to prepare emergency shelter and relief materials.

The eighth tropical storm, Morakot, currently east of Taiwan, is also moving northwestward toward the mainland, and will probably hit the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian on Friday.

Liu Ning, secretary-general of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and vice minister of water resources, said Tuesday that the joint effect of the two storms could increase their destructive power and make situations unpredictable, hampering prevention work.

He also said provinces in south China must maintain weather vigilance because storms and heavy rainfall had been forecast throughout August.

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2009)

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