Typhoon-related deaths hit 23 in China

Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:59 PM
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BEIJING, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- China's eastern coastal regions Tuesday reeled under the onslaught of twin typhoons as the death toll from storm-related incidents rose to 23, authorities said.

Nine more people were listed as missing as Typhoons Damrey and Saola, which came ashore during the weekend, continued to spread havoc, in the regions, Xinhua News Agency reported.

In Hubei province alone, one of the seven provinces hit by the storms, 14 people had been confirmed dead and another five were missing as of Monday evening. The province was struck by Saola, which came ashore in China after striking the northern Philippines and Taiwan, where it left at least 23 people dead.

Saola and Damrey brought with them heavy rainstorms, which triggered flooding and mudslides in several regions, Xinhua reported.

Damrey was blamed for the deaths of the remaining nine and four missing in other affected regions, provincial authorities said.

The storms have thus far destroyed or damaged more than 24,000 homes and forced more than 135,000 people to flee their homes. Many of the displaced were reported to be dire need of daily necessities.

The heavy rains added to flood-control pressure on reservoirs in Danjiangkou, a water resource zone for the country's massive south-to-north water diversion project, Xinhua said.

As China battled to recover from Saola and Damrey, authorities Tuesday prepared for a third typhoon, named Haikui, which was expected to come ashore in the next few days, China Daily reported.

Vast regions of China, including capital Beijing, have already been hit by heavy rains since July. The death toll from the rains and related incidents in Beijing alone has reached 79.

The country is faced with a tremendous burden from these disasters, Chinese Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said.

"It is the first time that the country will have been hit by three typhoons one after another within seven days," the minister said in a statement Monday.

Forecasters said Haikui, moving northwestward, strengthened into a typhoon Monday afternoon and was headed toward the coastal areas of east China's Zhejiang province. Heavy rainstorms from the new storm were expected to hit Shanghai and Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian and Jiangsu provinces in next three days, forecasters said.

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