Typhoon grounds S. Korean flights

Tourists letting a surging wave hit them in Qingdao, Shandong province, yesterday. More than a million people in China were evacuated as Typhoon Chan-hom struck the eastern coast.
Tourists letting a surging wave hit them in Qingdao, Shandong province, yesterday. More than a million people in China were evacuated as Typhoon Chan-hom struck the eastern coast.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL • Domestic flights were cancelled in South Korea yesterday as Typhoon Chan-hom brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to the country's south-western provinces, after wreaking substantial damage in China.

The storm grounded more than 150 domestic flights nationwide, the airport authorities said. International flights were not affected.

A strong wind and rainstorm alert has been issued along South Korea's southern and western coastal areas, which received up to 291mm of rain.

The authorities in China evacuated more than a million people as the typhoon hit the eastern coast last Saturday, paralysing transport links and devastating farmland, although no casualties were reported, the Chinese government and state media said.

Huge waves struck the coast in Wenling, in the east of worst-hit province Zhejiang, while further north, people in the city of Shaoxing scrambled onto diggers and dragged themselves along ropes to escape the floodwaters.

The provincial authorities estimate that economic losses from the storm could reach more than 1.9 billion yuan (S$410 million), particularly in the agricultural sector, Chinese state media reported.

Pictures from the region showed smashed greenhouses, flooded irrigation systems and ruined crops. In the wake of the storm, photos on the Internet showed residents young and old catching fish that the typhoon had washed ashore.

China's National Meteorological Centre yesterday downgraded its alert on the typhoon from red to orange, its second-highest warning.

But it issued a rainstorm alert for the north-eastern provinces of Shandong, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang and forecast strong gales in the north of the East China Sea.

In financial hub Shanghai, on the eastern coast, the typhoon orange alert was lifted yesterday and subway train service resumed.

Five people in the Philippines were killed earlier last week, while in Japan more than 20 people were injured last Friday. Taiwan was also affected by the storm, which forced it to close its stock market and shut schools and offices last Friday as heavy rainfall and fierce winds battered the north.

A number of flights in and out of Japan's Okinawa island chain and northern Taiwan were cancelled.

The weather authorities said the typhoon would be downgraded to a tropical storm when it reached North Korea's Hwanghae province this morning.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2015, with the headline 'Typhoon grounds S. Korean flights'. Print Edition | Subscribe