Thousands evacuated in China as typhoon Morakot nears

By Xinhua,

Hangzhou (China) : More than 953,000 people in two coastal provinces of eastern China were moved to safer places Sunday with predictions of typhoon Morakot approaching fast accompanied by heavy rain.

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More than 473,300 residents of Zhejiang have been relocated and some 35,440 ships called back from the sea, the provincial flood-control headquarters said Sunday.

Weather forecast by the provincial meteorological station said the typhoon was moving at a speed of up to 10 km per hour northwestward from the sea and is likely to land on the coast from Wenzhou in Zhejiang to Luoyuan in neighboring Fujian province by afternoon Sunday.

Strong winds and heavy rainstorms are expected to slam most parts of Zhejiang, according to the forecast, which forced authorities to close a number of expressways in the province.

Morakot has already shown its fury in Fujian province, which received heavy to very heavy rainfall between Saturday morning and early Sunday.

More than 480,000 people have also been shifted to safer places in the coastal areas of the province, according to officials who are preparing to face a possible disaster from the season’s first major typhoon.