China Evacuates 867,000 People as Tropical Storms Hit Coast

China evacuated 867,000 people after tropical storms Saola and Damrey hit coastal regions, bringing strong winds and rainstorms, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The storms caused one death and left five people missing in the port city of Dalian in northeastern Liaoning province, as heavy flooding toppled a bridge and disrupted train services, Xinhua said today, citing local authorities. They also led to five deaths, with 1 missing in provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong.

China removed a blue alert for heavy rain as the typhoons weakened at 6 p.m. local time. Some areas in northern and southern China, and south of the Yangtze River will have heavy rain until tomorrow, the National Meteorological Center said today in an e-mailed statement.

Local authorities were on alert after Saola earlier this week killed 37 people in the Philippines before moving to Taiwan where five more died. The storms will miss Beijing, where officials were criticized being poorly prepared last month after the biggest rainstorm in 61 years lasted 20 hours, killing more than 70 people.

Services on a major railway linking Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning, with Dalian were suspended after a section was submerged under water at about 2 a.m. local time, Xinhua said.

Flooding also caused the collapse of the railbed on a section of the Shenyang-Shanhaiguan line, it said.

Heavy Rains

The southeastern part of Liaoning received 100 millimeters to 220 millimeters of rainfall as of 4 a.m. local time today, with an area in the city of Anshan receiving 420 millimeters, Xinhua said.

Saola struck China’s coast early on Aug. 3 in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces and Damrey arrived later, hitting Jiangsu province to the north. In advance of Saola and Damrey, local authorities in Fujian and Zhejiang closed tourist sites along the coast and called fishing boats back to port. In Fujian, authorities evacuated 306,000 people ahead of Saola, Xinhua reported.

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