33 Dead and 48 missing in China

BEIJING (AFP) – Typhoon Fanapi, one of the strongest storms to hit China in years, has left 33 dead and 48 missing in devastating flooding and landslides in the nation’s south, state press said on Wednesday.

Fanapi made landfall on the mainland Monday, one day after slamming Taiwan with heavy rains, killing two people and leaving more than 100 injured on the island.

All of the mainland deaths occurred in southern China’s Guangdong province, which saw its worst rains in a century, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The latest toll was drawn up by the state flood control headquarters as of late Tuesday night.

Five of the victims died after a dam burst, while two others were killed when their house collapsed, the report said. Of the 48 missing, 25 disappeared in a rain-triggered mudslide, state media said.

Over 83,000 people in Guangdong have been evacuated and 31 injured due to the storm, which destroyed some 2,000 homes and damaged 7,000 others.

Initial direct economic losses amounted to 867 million yuan (129 million dollars), it said.

Fanapi, which has weakened to a low-pressure system, is moving west at a speed of up to 10 kilometres (six miles) an hour, bringing torrential rains in its wake, meteorologists said.

The hard-hit city of Yangchun saw 55 centimetres (22 inches) of rain in 24 hours, Xinhua reported.

At its strongest point, when it hit Taiwan on Sunday, Fanapi was packing winds of up to 220 kilometres an hour and dumped up to 100 centimetres of rain in the south of the island.

Industrial and agricultural damage wrought by the typhoon was estimated at around five billion Taiwan dollars (158 million US), according to the government in Taipei.

Just over a year ago, Typhoon Morakot devastated southern Taiwan, leaving more than 700 people dead or missing in one of the island’s worst natural disasters.

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