AFTER killing at least 13 people in the Philippines before moving northward, Typhoon Haima has forced the evacuation of more than 50,000 people as it makes landfall in Southern China.
No deaths have been reported Saturday from the typhoon in China. Local authorities and state media say residents in the cities of Shanwei and Shantou, in China’s Guangdong province, were forced to move to safer ground as the storm hit Friday.
Haima triggered landslides and heavy flooding in the northern Philippines, but mass casualties appear to have been averted as more than 100,000 people fled to safety.
China suspended dozens of flights and train services in the south on Friday, and Hong Kong shut down schools and trading on the stock market.
According to state news agency Xinhua, Typhoon Haima triggered sudden downpours in several cities, prompting authorities to issue warnings against floods, landslides, among other potential disasters.
Haima made landfall in the city of Shanwei, Guangdong Province, shortly after Friday afternoon, according to local meteorological services. At least five counties and cities in Guangdong experienced unabated heavy rain Friday night although the typhoon weakened as it traveled further north, the agency reported.
Shanwei disaster relief office was quoted as saying that 59 dikes were ruptured from gales and rain from Haima. 21 dam gates and 179 water facilities were damaged.
Over 20 people were trapped in an inundated shoe factory in nearby Huizhou City but the group was rescued and transferred to a safer location after a two-hour operation.
Authorities say heavy rainfall is expected in several cities in the next two days.
The provincial government had dispatched thousands of blankets and clothes, hundreds of tents and folding beds to be distributed to the affected areas.
Xinhua also quoted He Guoqing, a senior official with the provincial disaster relief office, as saying that the water level at most of the province’s dams were at dangerous levels. He said the ground, especially on mountain slopes, was still saturated from the last typhoon.
He added the danger of flooding and landslides is now “very high”.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press