Vol. 5 Num 92 Thu. August 26, 2004  

Typhoon Aere makes landfall in SE China

The typhoon which has been battering Taiwan has now made landfall in south-eastern China.

The authorities had evacuated 250,000 people from their homes in Zhejiang province, but Typhoon Aere struck southern Fujian province instead.

In Taiwan, Aere continued to trigger flooding on Wednesday, after reportedly killing five people on Tuesday.

At least 164 people lost their lives when the last typhoon, Rananim, hit China earlier this month.

Chinese state television, quoting the Central Meteorological Bureau, said the storm had hit the province of Fujian, which faces Taiwan, packing force 12 winds.

It is expected to head further west towards the densely populated province of Guangdong.

Its trajectory is further south than some had been predicting. It was the eastern province of Zhejiang, closer to Shanghai, which was expecting some of the worst battering from the storm.

Zhejiang is still picking up the pieces after the ferocious onslaught from Typhoon Rananim a few days ago.

Taking no chances, the authorities there said they had evacuated 250,000 people from their homes and ordered thousands of fishing boats back into port.

In Fujian the authorities have been taking their own precautions, such as postponing the registration procedures for college students.

But the BBC's correspondent in Shanghai, Francis Markus, says the coming hours will be a severe test of their readiness in the face of the storm.

"Torrential rain triggered by the coming typhoon may cause landslides and mud flows in mountainous areas," Gao Shuanzhu, chief forecaster at China's Central Meteorological Station, warned.

Aere was the fiercest typhoon to hit the country this year, dumping a metre and a half of rain in the mountains around Taipei, saturating land that was already unstable and triggering landslides.

The heavy downpours turned streets into muddy rivers, with floodwaters surging waist-high in some districts of Taipei.

The storm forced thousands to flee their homes and closed financial markets for a second day on Taiwan.

Some of the people trying to rebuild homes damaged by the last typhoon a few weeks ago were forced to flee again.

A flood scene at the main road in Manila yesterday. Four people were killed and three others were missing as heavy rains caused by typhoon Aere and super-typhoon Chaba triggered floods, landslide and road crash in the Philippines. PHOTO: AFP