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Tropical storm approaches southern China island amid nationwide rain disasters

08-24-2010 08:21 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

HAIKOU, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- China is bracing for a strong tropical storm named "Mindelle", which is expected to skim the southernmost island province of Hainan between Monday midnight and Tuesday morning.

At 8 a.m. Monday, a tropical low pressure system across the South China Sea intensified into the fifth tropical storm of the year, after being upgraded to a strong tropical storm eight hours later.

The storm, by the name of "Mindellu", which means dandelion in Korean, is expected to approach the Beibu Gulf off the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region after skipping Hainan, the Hainan provincial meteorological bureau said.

Local authorities in Hainan have halted railway, shipping services and tourism programs and called fishing boats to return to ports as they braced for the storm.

Both cargo and passenger shipping services were halted at 5 p.m., according to the ban issued by the provincial maritime affairs bureau.

Also, passenger and cargo train services through Qiongzhou strait between the mainland and Hainan were halted at 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, more than 26,000 fishing boats have returned to their ports.

Tourism activities, such as diving and water-motorbike-driving in Sanya, the famous tourist city in southern Hannan, have also been halted as residents prepared for the storm.

The Hainan provincial government said they would spare no efforts in protecting the safety of fishermen and tourists, as well as strengthening the monitoring of reservoirs.

As the storm brings rains to Hainan, several rivers in the eastern province of Shandong swelled after days of torrential rains, swamping eight villages and leaving 210,000 people along the rivers in danger.

The rivers of Tuhai, Majia and New Dehui in Binzhou City of Shandong reported the worst flooding in 64 years.

Heavy rains and subsequent geological disasters have taken significant tolls across China this summer.

A rain-triggered mudslide hit Zhouqu in northwest China's Gansu Province on Aug. 8, leaving at least 1,435 dead and 330 missing.

Last week's mudslides in a remote mountain town in southwest China's Yunnan Province killed at least 32 people and left 60 missing.

Rain-triggered mudslides also killed at least 18 people in Wenchuan and Qingchuan counties in southwest China's Sichuan -- which is still recovering from the massive earthquake of 2008.

Heavy rain also wreaked havoc in northeast China's Liaoning Province as a major river bordering China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has swelled, forcing the evacuation of some 253,500 residents.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: Xinhua

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