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Deadly typhoon bears down on HK
Latest Updated by 2006-05-17 14:40:52
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Typhoon Chanchu roared toward Hong Kong and China's southern coast, just days after killing nearly 40 people and leaving thousands homeless in the Philippines.

Several cyclists ride through a bridge as strong waves rage in Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong province May 16, 2006. Typhoon Chanchu is barrelling towards southern China after claiming at least 41 lives in the Philippines and becoming the strongest storm on record to enter the South China sea in May. [Xinhua]

The killer storm -- the strongest ever reported in the South China Sea in May -- has caused the cancellation of a handful of flights and ferry services as the region battened down to prepare for the storm.

More than 180,000 people have been evacuated from coastal areas to safe places in south China's Guangdong Province as typhoon Chanchu, the first tropical storm of this year, is approaching.

The province had called back 25,219 ships operating on sea by Tuesday night, according to the provincial disaster relief office on Wednesday.

Chanchu was expected to pass Hong Kong later Wednesday, but its eye was not expected to hit the territory, the Hong Kong Observatory said.

Chanchu was about 250 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Hong Kong at 0200 GMT and moving north-northeast at 20 kilometers an hour, headed for the Guangdong coast, it said.

Hong Kong ordered kindergartens to close Wednesday along with schools for mentally handicapped children. Some ferry services to outlying islands were suspended.

The Guangzhou Meteorological Station forecast that the typhoon may land in the coastal regions between Shenzhen and Raoping County Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. 

But Chanchu may also change direction towards Fujian Province or the Taiwan Straits, said Huang Zhong, the chief weatherman with the Guangzhou station.

The cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the province have warned small ships and fishing boats on the open seas to seek shelter.

Wang Yongxin, chief forecaster of Guangdong Marine Observatory, said Shantou in the eastern part of the province could be hardest hit.

Fujian and Hainan provinces were also braced for damage with the latter ordering a halt to sea and rail transport across the Qiongzhou Strait between the island and Guangdong.

In Shenzhen, local authorities issued landslide warnings at some high-risk places and were ready to evacuate people if necessary. Advertisement billboards in the city were either reinforced or removed.

Once signals of a strong typhoon or strong storm are sent, schools should suspend classes immediately and ensure the students go back home safely, according to education officials.

The city will open all temporary shelters during the typhoon period; and the government has advised people to stay at home, close windows and move flowerpots from balconies.

Chanchu, which means "pearl" in Chinese, swept over the Philippines last weekend, killing 37 people and destroying thousands of homes.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China Daily Website
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