International

Typhoon Usagi kills 25 in China

Powerful storm kills eight in the Philippines, cuts power to 170,000 in southern China; Hong Kong largely spared

People watch waves hit shore as Typhoon Usagi approaches Shantou in Guangdong province, Sept. 22, 2013.
Reuters

A powerful storm hit Hong Kong and the southern China coast on Monday blowing cars off roads, crippling power lines, causing flooding and killing at least 25 people.

Typhoon Usagi, the strongest storm to hit the western Pacific this year, began pounding southern China late Sunday. More than 370 flights were canceled, and financial markets closed for at least part of the morning. Shipping and train lines were also shut down before Usagi weakened to a tropical depression over the southern Chinese province of Guangdong on Monday.

On Sunday, China's National Meteorological Center issued its highest alert, with more than 80,000 people moved to safety in Fujian province and authorities deploying at least 50,000 disaster-relief workers, state news agency Xinhua reported.

China said 25 deaths occurred in Guangdong, where the typhoon made landfall late Sunday near Shanwei with sustained winds of 109 miles per hour, a city  record.

The victims included people hit by debris and others who had drowned. One man was killed by a falling window pane. Winds toppled trees and cranes and blew cars off roads in some areas and brought down three major power lines in coastal Fujian, cutting electricity to about 170,000 households, Xinhua said.

"It is the strongest typhoon I have ever encountered," Luo Hailing, a gas-station attendant in Shanwei, told Xinhua. "So terrible. Lucky we made preparations.”

On Saturday the storm was a supertyphoon when it passed between Taiwan and the Philippines, sparing both of them the brunt of the winds. However, Philippine officials said eight people had died in landslides or drowned, and Taiwan authorities reported nine people hurt by falling trees.

The storm wreaked havoc with travel plans just as many passengers were returning home after an extended weekend for the Chinese midautumn festival.

More than 250 incoming and outgoing flights were canceled in Hong Kong, and an additional 200 were delayed, Airport Authority Hong Kong said. Intercity trains, including the high-speed rail to Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong were suspended until Tuesday, Xinhua reported.

Despite earlier warnings that the typhoon could pose a severe risk to Hong Kong, the city suffered only minimal damage and no fatalities, though dozens of trees were reported down. Seventeen people sought medical treatment, and eight of them were admitted to the hospital, according to Hong Kong's information services department.

The Hong Kong Exchange delayed the start of trading on securities and derivatives markets because of the typhoon.

Usagi lashed the eastern and southern coasts of Taiwan on Saturday after slamming into the Philippines' northernmost islands, where it cut communication and power lines and triggered landslides.

Parts of Manila remained submerged Monday, and classes were canceled. Landslide deaths occurred in two villages in Zambales province, west of Manila, Subic mayor Jeffrey Khonghun said Monday, and two drowning deaths were previously reported.

Al Jazeera and The Associated Press

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