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Typhoon Megi leaves path of chaos

10-25-2010 11:36 BJT

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XIAMEN, Fujian - Authorities lifted their Typhoon Megi alert on Sunday after wind speeds dropped and it was classified as a tropical depression.

Rescuers search among the muddy, rocky debris on Saturday after a coach carrying
mainland tourists on Taiwan's Suao-Hualien Highway was swept away by a landslide.

But this year's strongest typhoon left a trail of destruction in its path after it made landfall in Zhangpu, Fujian province, on Saturday.

According to the provincial flood control office, more than 647,900 people and 26,190 hectares of crops were affected by the typhoon, which flattened 500 houses and forced 313,200 people to evacuate their homes.

The typhoon also destroyed more than 2,000 boats, uprooted trees and caused widespread flooding, the office said.

The direct economic cost to the province is estimated at 1.59 billion yuan ($238 million).

In Xiamen city's Xiang'an district, hundreds of fishing boats in Qiongtou village remained moored on Sunday.

"My wooden boat is too old. I'd better not risk fishing today", said 28-year-old Lin Dasheng as he tried to clean up garbage piled up in front of his home by the typhoon.

Although Megi made its landfall 70 kilometers away from where Lin's family have been planting forest since the 1990s, it was still powerful enough to uproot 3-meter-tall trees in the area. Chicken coops and vegetable plots in the area also fell victim to the strong wind and rain.

Despite Megi losing some of its power, the provincial weather bureau forecast that torrential rain will continue to batter the province's central and northern parts.

Fujian flood control headquarters on Sunday asked local authorities to step up monitoring on possible geological hazards and check on dikes, dams, school buildings, roads and bridges.

The Office of State Flood Control and Draught Relief Headquarters on Sunday said on its website that efforts taken to limit Megi's impact were "successful".

No major casualties were reported so far thanks to rigorous preparation in Fujian, Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces, it added.

Meanwhile, ferry services linking Xiamen, a coastal business center with the outlying island of Jinmen, resumed Sunday after a two-day suspension that stranded thousands of travelers, the China News Service reported.

Megi had earlier cut a swath of destruction through the Philippines and Taiwan. Landslides and flooding in Taiwan killed as many as 31 people, and at least 28 people died in the northern Philippines.

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