Southern China reels as typhoon toll hits 47
A POWERFUL typhoon that slammed into southern China, with winds that blew cars off a road, has caused more deaths, bringing the toll in Asia to at least 47 yesterday.
Typhoon Usagi, which was the season's strongest storm at its peak, forced hundreds of flight cancellations and shut down shipping and train lines, before weakening to become a tropical depression over the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
China said 25 deaths occurred in Guangdong, where the typhoon made landfall late on Sunday near Shanwei with record sustained winds of 175kmh for the city.
At least 13 of the victims were killed in Shanwei, the worst-hit city, where winds blew cars off the road near a petrol station and houses were toppled, Xinhua said. One county's electricity and water supply were cut off.
China's National Meteorological Centre said the typhoon would continue to weaken as it moved north-west, and would bring heavy rains later yesterday and overnight to five southern provinces.
As the typhoon bored down on Hong Kong on Sunday, operators shut down one of the world's busiest sea ports and nearly 450 flights were cancelled or delayed, as Cathay Pacific and other airlines imposed pre-emptive suspensions.
The airport authorities foresaw a second day of flight disruptions, with more than 480 scheduled flights being cancelled or delayed yesterday.
On Saturday, the storm had been a super typhoon as it passed between Taiwan and the Philippines, sparing both of them the brunt of the winds.
However, Philippine officials said 22 people were dead from drowning or landslides, and the Taiwan authorities reported nine people hurt by falling trees.
The most severely affected area in the Philippines was the province of Zambales, about 80km north-west of Manila, where heavy rains caused rain-soaked soil to cascade down.