Stormy Weather

Typhoon causes chaos in south China

A resident wading through floodwaters in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, after Mujigae hit the coastal province yesterday. The typhoon felled trees, toppled power poles and flooded roads, although no casualties have been reported.
A resident wading through floodwaters in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, after Mujigae hit the coastal province yesterday. The typhoon felled trees, toppled power poles and flooded roads, although no casualties have been reported.PHOTO: XINHUA

Highest alert issued as Mujigae leaves trail of destruction; 4 dead and 16 missing

SHANGHAI • A typhoon with winds up to 179kmh lashed China's south coast, leaving a trail of destruction and flooding and prompting the authorities to issue their highest "red alert" emergency response.

Typhoon Mujigae made landfall near the coastal city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong province at around 2.10pm yesterday, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said.

The typhoon is forecast to move north-west at a speed of up to 20kmh before weakening, the CMA said, and is expected to bring gales and torrential rain to the coastal regions until today.

High-speed trains linking Haikou and Sanya, both in Hainan province, were suspended on Saturday and yesterday.

At least four people died, including one fisherman, reported Xinhua. Another 16 people have been reported missing, according to the Zhanjiang maritime rescue centre.

Television reports and images circulating on China's popular social media site Sina Weibo showed flooded streets and vehicles overturned by the fierce winds, although official news agency Xinhua said there had not yet been any reports of casualties.

The typhoon prompted coastal provinces in the south to order fishing fleets to stay ashore and cancel scores of flights and rail services.

The main affected areas were the southern island province of Hainan as well as Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. In Hainan and Guangdong, around 60,000 fishing boats were recalled to harbour to shelter from the storm, Xinhua said.

It added that some vessels had been caught out at sea with winds expected to be between 162kmh and 180kmh.

The typhoon is likely to disrupt plans for thousands trying to travel during the current week-long public holiday in China. Xinhua said about 80,000 people had travelled to Hainan last Friday.

High-speed trains linking Haikou and Sanya, both in Hainan province, were suspended on Saturday and yesterday.

Sixty-eight flights from and to Haikou Meilan International Airport were cancelled on Saturday.

About 500 tourists have also been stranded since Saturday on an island in Maoming city in Guangdong province, according to the Xinhua report. Meanwhile, the Philippine coast guard searched for 23 fishing boats with more than 120 fishermen lost when Mujigae hit the main island of Luzon.

Nearly 30 fishing boats with more than 150 fishermen were returning from the South China Sea when Mujigae caught them at sea, the regional disaster and risk reduction agency said in a report yesterday.

Commander Armand Balilo, coast guard spokesman, said search-and-rescue ships were scouring the sea west of Pangasian, Ilocos and Zambales after two cargo ships bound for Japan had picked up nine fishermen from a capsized boat.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2015, with the headline 'Typhoon causes chaos in south China'. Print Edition | Subscribe