08/04/2012, 00.00
CHINA
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Typhoons Saola and Damrey hit China, two dead and 800 thousand displaced

After 12 hours the two typhoons hit 10 provinces of the east coast. Worst damage in the provinces of Jiangsu and Shandong, where two people died. Thousands of homes destroyed, tens of thousands more have suffered serious damage. Premier Wen Jiabao warns: focus on disaster prevention.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 800 thousand displaced people, forced to flee their homes after the devastating passage of two typhoons that hit -  12 hours apart from each other - at least 10 provinces of the east coast of China. Damrey and Saola caused two deaths and damaged thousands of homes. Meanwhile, experts warn that in the coming days, the area will be affected by more heavy rains that may cause additional damage. In recent days bad weather also invested the capital, officialy killing at least 78 people (but the number could be much higher) and exposing the backwardness of the sewerage system in Beijing. The incident sparked a furious protest on the web, barely contained by the authorities and government propaganda (see AsiaNews 26/07/2012 As flood deaths increase in Beijing, so does government propaganda).

For meteorologists, typhoon Damrey - from 1949 to today the most powerful to have hit north of the Yangtze River - will arrive in Beijing, still struggling with the flood emergency. However, it has already caused - along with Tropical Storm Saola, which had previously hit Taiwan and the Philippines, killing at least 40 people - 867 thousand displaced in 10 provinces bordering on the east coast, the most affected are the Jiangsu and Shandong.

The two victims are native of Shandong, where at least one thousand houses have collapsed and 23 thousand others suffered serious damage. In Jiangsu, a hundred houses collapsed and about 2,800 were damaged. The China Meteorological Department (CMD) reports that from 1949 to date there was a similar event in only two cases, with two typhoons in quick succession - 12 hours apart- they to hit the same area. It was in 2006 when Saomai and Bopha hit to 24 hours apart from each other.

Damrey and Saola were downgraded to a tropical storm overnight and took different directions, the first to the north and the second to the west. However, Premier Wen Jiabao on a visit to Hubei Province issued a warning to officials and city governments, to improve the sewage system - chiefly responsible for the disaster in Beijing - and flood prevention systems. "We need to really learn from these experiences," said the Prime Minister in a press briefing.

 

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