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Tropical Storm Malakas Churns Toward Japanese Islands

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Tropical Storm Malakas maintained strength as it churned over the Pacific Ocean toward the Japanese islands of Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said on its website.

The official forecast shows the storm tracking north over Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima before turning north-northeast, indicating it won’t make landfall on Japan’s main islands. The storm’s eye is forecast to remain about 570 kilometers (350 miles) off Japan’s coast, with Tokyo and surrounding prefectures no longer in range of the forecast path’s margin of error.

Malakas is expected to become a typhoon by Sept. 24 with sustained winds of 157 kilometers per hour. That would make it a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, capable of “extensive damage,” according to the U.S. weather service.

Malakas was 590 kilometers south of Iwo Jima and 1,800 kilometers south of Tokyo at 3 p.m. Japan time today, the center said. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 74 kph and was moving northwest at 7 kph.

Malakas means “strong” or “powerful” in the Philippines, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, which lists names assigned to storms in the northwest Pacific and South China Sea. Malakas is the 13th storm of the northwest Pacific season.

Dam Collapse

Typhoon Fanapi, the 12th storm of the season, swept across Taiwan on Sept. 19, downing electric lines, forcing evacuations and closing airports. Two people were killed and 107 were hurt, the island’s National Fire Agency said in a statement.

Fanapi, the Micronesian name for sandy islands, then brought the heaviest rains in a century to China’s southern province of Guangdong, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Heavy rain triggered floods and landslides in Maoming City, where more than 8,000 people were evacuated, Xinhua said.

Zijin Mining Group Co. said a dam built to hold tin-mining waste collapsed in Guangdong after about 60 centimeters (24 inches) of rain from Typhoon Fanapi triggered mud and rock slides, the company said in a statement.

Fanapi killed 18 people in Guangdong and injured 44, Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Thousands of people have died this year in China as torrential rain and floods inundated the country in July and August. In Pakistan, the United Nations has asked for $2 billion in aid to help 14 million victims of flooding, the largest ever appeal for humanitarian relief by the world body.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Biggs in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

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