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China braces for Typhoon Megi

On October 20 at 1:30 a.m. EDT NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Typhoon Megi as it filled up a large part of the South China Sea. The image revealed an eye filled with high clouds and a very large system. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team.

Relief workers try to reach Megi survivors in Philippines
Cauayan, Philippines (AFP) Oct 20, 2010 - Typhoon Megi inched away from the Philippines on Wednesday after killing 19 people, as relief workers scrambled to deliver aid to remote towns that were devastated by the storm. The governor of the hardest-hit province of Isabela, Faustino Dy said that residents in three coastal towns had suffered massive damage to their homes and were left with limited food supplies after huge waves washed away roads. "Their food supply is only up to Sunday. But going there is very difficult. There is no road to reach them," Dy told reporters in Cauayan, the closest city to the worst-hit towns. Dy, who had flown by helicopter to the devastated areas, said that as many as 20,000 people were affected. Many of them had survived by fleeing into the mountains before Megi hit, he and other officials said.

Regional social welfare chief Arnel Garcia said the government planned to send food and tents to the affected towns of Maconacon, Palanan and Divilacan but that both air and sea travel were dangerous. "Helicopters have to pass through the mountains and the mountain ranges are often covered with clouds," Garcia said. US ambassador Harry Thomas said in a statement that US military personnel and equipment that was already in the Philippines for a joint exercise would be diverted for typhoon relief. "My embassy team is in constant contact with Philippine authorities and NGO (non-governmental organisation) representatives to determine how we can be of further assistance," Thomas said in a statement issued by the embassy. Megi smashed mostly farming and fishing areas of northern Luzon with gusts of 260 kilometres (160 miles) an hour on Monday, making it the strongest typhoon in the world this year. The three million residents of Isabela province and other areas of the Cagayan Valley farming region were the worst hit.

The government raised the death toll to 19 on Wednesday, up from 14 the previous day, after more detailed reports from around Luzon were compiled. The civil defence bureau said it was still sheltering over 10,000 people in evacuation centres across northern Luzon while roads were being cleared. Although the typhoon was already over the South China Sea, the government weather station said it had remained almost stationary on Wednesday, hovering over the western coast of the Philippines. The typhoon, which is still packing maximum gusts of 210 kilometres (130 miles) per hour, is expected to continue hovering throughout the day before moving northeast towards southern China, the weather station said. The first level of a four-step storm alert remained in effect over several provinces in the northern Philippines due to continuing rain from the typhoon.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 20, 2010
Chinese authorities on Wednesday ordered fishermen back to shore and halted rail services as Typhoon Megi, the strongest northwest Pacific storm since 1990, barrelled towards the mainland.

Megi has already wreaked havoc in the Philippines, killing at least 19 people and leaving relief workers scrambling to deliver aid to devastated, remote towns.

It is now making its way towards southern China, where it is expected to make landfall in the southern province of Guangdong on Saturday, the National Meteorological Centre said.

"We expect that the strong winds and torrential rain brought by Megi will increase the probability of geological disasters happening in the south such as floods, land and mudslides," the centre warned.

Hong Kong's observatory said Thursday the storm was showing "signs of intensification" and said vessels from the territory should avoid the open sea.

Fishing boats in the southern province of Guangdong and neighbouring Fujian have been told not to leave port, and those already at sea have been ordered back to shore, the official China Daily newspaper said.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency, citing the State Oceanic Administration, has said that Guangdong could see storm-triggered waves of up to seven metres (21 feet).

Reservoirs and hydroelectric stations in Guangdong have been put on high alert, and local flood control officials have been told to ensure the safety of venues for the upcoming Asian Games in the provincial capital Guangzhou.

In Hainan, which is still reeling from recent severe flooding, authorities halted some passenger train services, and residents in the island's capital Haikou have flocked to supermarkets to stock up on goods, state media said.

In Sanya, a resort city in Hainan, billboards were being taken down to remove potential threats to people and vehicles, the China Daily said.

China has issued an early disaster warning for Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan and the coastal Guangxi region, calling on local officials to ensure that people in low-lying areas are evacuated early.

About 140,000 people have already been moved from their homes in Hainan due to the recent torrential rains and flash flooding.

This summer, China was hit by its worst floods in more than a decade, with more than 4,300 people dead or missing -- including 1,500 people killed in one devastating mudslide in the northwestern province of Gansu in August.

Megi, which according to the Hong Kong Observatory was packing winds of 185 kilometres (115 miles) an hour late Wednesday, is the strongest storm seen worldwide so far this year.

In the Philippines, the typhoon smashed into mostly farming and fishing areas of northern Luzon with gusts of 260 kilometres an hour on Monday.

The three million residents of Isabela province and other areas of the Cagayan Valley farming region were the worst hit.

Isabela governor Faustino Dy said that residents in three coastal towns had suffered massive damage to their homes and were left with limited food supplies after huge waves washed away roads.

"Their food supply is only up to Sunday. But going there is very difficult. There is no road to reach them," Dy told reporters in Cauayan, the closest city to the worst-hit towns.

The first level of a four-step storm alert remained in effect over several provinces in the northern Philippines due to continuing rain.




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Deadly Typhoon Megi dumps heavy rains on Philippines
Baguio, Philippines (AFP) Oct 19, 2010
Thousands of people sheltered in evacuation centres as Typhoon Megi dumped heavy rains across the Philippines' main island on Tuesday, a day after the ferocious storm took at least 14 lives. Schools were suspended in Manila and other parts of Luzon island amid fears of flash floods, while rescue workers tried to reach villagers stranded in remote areas that were cut off by the typhoon. " ... read more

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