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Tropical Storm Trami lashes Taiwan
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Aug 21, 2013

China braces for typhoon as flood toll rises
Beijing (AFP) Aug 21, 2013 - China braced itself for the arrival of Typhoon Trami Wednesday with emergency officials making disaster relief preparations, as the country recovered from severe weather which left more than 150 people dead.

A "disaster relief response" had been issued, the National Disaster Reduction Commission said, as the typhoon approached the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang where it was expected to make landfall overnight Wednesday.

The commission also urged provinces across central and southern China to prepare emergency services, particularly those that had already been battered by Typhoon Utor last week.

"As the typhoon-affected zone and the Utor affected zones overlap, and because of the short interval of time, water levels are already high and flooding may occur," the commission said in a statement on its website.

Ahead of making landfall in China, Trami was drenching Taiwan on Wednesday evening, where the Central Weather Bureau was still categorising it as a tropical storm.

Meanwhile, the death toll of construction workers killed when sudden rainstorms and hail battered Haixi in Qinghai province in the northwest rose to 24, authorities said.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for "persistent efforts" to save victims from what Xinhua, the state news agency, described as "the worst floods in decades" in northeast China.

Authorities said 85 people in the region were confirmed dead, 105 missing, and some 3.74 million people had been affected by the severe weather.

The worst-affected province was Liaoning, where Guo Shouying, 54, told Xinhua: "Floodwater gushed out of the embankments and my mother was swept away.

"The neighbours heard her desperate calls for help, but the flood was so huge that no one dared to swim into the water to rescue her."

Her mother's body was found 100 metres from her home in Xinbin the next day.

"One hand pressed her nose and her mouth was wide open, she was probably choked by water," said Guo tearfully.

Another 49 people have perished in Hunan, central China, and in the southern provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi, the ministry of civil affairs announced.

Nearly 3,000 military personnel were mobilised to help with the relief efforts, Xinhua reported earlier.

Tropical Storm Trami battered Taiwan with strong winds and torrential rains on Wednesday, forcing authorities to close offices and call off nearly 200 international flights.

The Central Weather Bureau said although the storm, 100 kilometres (62 miles) north-northeast of Taipei at 0930 GMT, was likely to miss the island, it would generate more heavy rainfall in the day ahead.

The bureau urged the public to be vigilant as the storm could even produce "cloudbursts" -- more than 100 mm of rain per hour -- in some areas.

Persistent torrential rains could lead to landslides in mountainous areas and flooding, it warned.

The storm has dumped up to 400 mm (16 inches) of rain in some northern parts of the island since Tuesday, the bureau said, adding that the volume could surge to one metre (40 inches).

Trami, with gusts of up to 137 kilometres per hour, was moving west at a speed of 25 kilometres per hour, the bureau said.

The bureau categorised it as a tropical storm, but the Hong Kong Observatory upgraded it to a typhoon late Wednesday.

Due to strong winds and heavy rains, the Taoyuan airport in the north cancelled 195 international flights, according to the transport ministry.

All the flights and ferries between Taiwan and offshore islands were terminated while major train and high-speed rail services remained uninterrupted.

Officials at the bureau said the storm's impact may be felt mostly from Wednesday night through early Thursday morning, as it churned towards China's southeast Fujian province.

Financial markets were closed, while offices and schools in the north, the area mostly affected by the storm, shut down.

As part of the government's preventive measures, the defence ministry deployed around 2,000 soldiers in some areas prone to be hit by flooding and landslides, and placed another 50,000 on stand-by.

President Ma Ying-jeou cut an overseas trip short by one day, flying back to Taiwan from a visit to the Caribbean via a stopover in the United States.

Last month Typhoon Soulik battered Taiwan with torrential rain and powerful winds, leaving two people dead and at least 100 injured.

Roofs were ripped from homes, debris and fallen trees littered the streets and some areas were submerged by floods.


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Taiwan battens down after warning about tropical storm
Taipei (AFP) Aug 20, 2013
Taiwan evacuated more than 1,000 tourists from an island and deployed troops Tuesday in preparation for the possible arrival of Tropical Storm Trami. The Central Weather Bureau said the storm, 590 kilometres (366 miles) east-southeast of Taipei at 1230 GMT, would bring heavy rain from Tuesday night even if it did not make landfall. "Starting from tonight, there will be heavy or very heav ... read more

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