by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Aug 8, 2012
A typhoon slammed into eastern China on Wednesday, the country's third in a week, killing at least three people and causing more than $1.5 billion in damage, state media said.
Typhoon Haikui made landfall early on Wednesday morning in Zhejiang province south of Shanghai, after authorities moved nearly two million people to safety, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Shanghai media reported that glass falling from a building killed a 57-year-old woman and the collapse of a small chemical factory led to the death of a young boy sheltering inside with his family.
The city's flood control and drought relief headquarters confirmed the deaths and said seven other people were also injured in typhoon-triggered accidents, Xinhua reported.
Another person was killed in neighbouring Anhui province, where 26,000 were evacuated, local authorities said.
In Zhegiang province, the storm affected more than four million people, causing economic losses of over 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion), destroying about 4,400 houses and 185,000 hectares of crops, according to provincial flood control headquarters.
The storm had cut off electricity to nearly 400,000 households in the province, Xinhua said. In Ningbo city two houses collapsed including a workers' dormitory but firefighters rescued all 12 trapped people.
And in Dongling village, hundreds of stranded tourists and locals were forced to drink rainwater after the typhoon blocked roads and destroyed drinking facilities, Xinhua said.
Haikui did not make a direct hit on Shanghai -- mainland China's financial hub -- but the city raised its most severe typhoon signal shortly before midday on Wednesday and urged people to stay home.
The typhoon knocked down trees, halted hundreds of flights at the city's two airports and suspended some long-distance train services. The Shanghai stock market operated normally despite the typhoon.
Construction sites and public parks were ordered to be shut.
Shanghai officials moved 374,000 people to emergency shelters, amid fears the storm could be the worst since 2005, when Typhoon Matsa killed seven people in the city.
By late afternoon the typhoon had been downgraded to a severe tropical storm but was moving slowly and authorities warned continued heavy rains in Zhejiang could bring mudslides and urban flooding.
Haikui is the third typhoon to hit China in a few days, after two battered other parts of the country over the weekend, killing 23 people, Xinhua reported earlier this week.
Typhoon Saola left 14 dead in the central province of Hubei while nine people were killed in the northeastern province of Liaoning by Typhoon Damrey, it said.
China is hit by typhoons every summer, normally affecting its eastern and southern regions.
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