09/24/2008, 00.00
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South East Asia hit by Typhoon Hagupit

Guangdong evacuates 100 thousand people; 50 thousand ships put in dry-dock; Hong Kong paralysed; victims in the Philippines. Vietnam awaits its arrival this evening.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated; thousands of ships called back to port; 8 dead in the Philippines; dozens wounded in Hong Kong: that is the first provisional toll from the passage of typhoon Hagupit in South East Asia and along the cost of Guangdong.

The typhoon with winds reaching up to 200 km an hour hit the Philippines yesterday, overnight it lashed into the Hong Kong territory and this morning made landfall along the coast of Guangdong.

Over 100 thousand people were evacuated from the southern region of China more than 50 thousand ships were recalled to port.  Meanwhile torrential rains are forecast for today affecting Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan Island.

In Hong Kong, authorities sent out a force 8 typhoon warning – blocking all activities on the ground. Overnight the wind uprooted trees and rains flooded areas leaving dozens wounded.  The island of Lantau cancelled most flights into and out of its airport.  This morning at 6.30 the Hong Kong observatory reduced the danger warning, allowing stock markets to open and commercial activities to recommence.  Schools however remained closed.

In the Philippines at least 14 miners were trapped in a gold mine following the flooding of its shafts.  The National Council for Disasters reported that 4 people drowned; 3 were buried under a landslide and one was hit by lightening in the north of the country.  Many areas have been isolated by the flooding and landslides, cut off without electricity or phone lines.

Vietnamese authorities forecast that Hagupit will hit the north of the country this evening. Torrential rain may cause widespread flooding and mudslides.  Until yesterday, over 30 thousand Vietnamese fishermen were working along the coast, and risked being hit by the violent bad weather.

The typhoon season in the area lasts from early summer until mid autumn.



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