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Conson slams Vietnam, gets downgraded

By the CNN Wire Staff
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iReport: Tropical storm in Philippines
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Storm has been downgraded to a tropical depression
  • Southern China is recovering from storm's damage
  • At least two people are dead in China, and 65 died in the Philippines

Hong Kong, China (CNN) -- The deadly weather system called "Conson" was downgraded to a tropical depression after slamming the northern coast of Vietnam with heavy rains and high winds.

Once a typhoon, Conson was packing sustained winds of 83 kilometers (53 miles) per hour with gusts as high as 102 kilometers (63 miles) per hour as a tropical storm before being downgraded to a depression Saturday.

At least two people died when Conson, then the strength of a Category 1 hurricane, hit China's southernmost province of Hainan Friday, the state-run Xinhua news agency said. They were killed by collapsing billboards.

The entire area was left reeling after Conson damaged buildings, uprooted trees, downed power lines and forced the closure of local airports. Xinhua reported.

The storm also killed at least 65 people in the Philippines earlier in the week.

Southern China already had been battling severe flooding that killed 146 people over the past two weeks, destroyed about 113,000 homes and forced more than 1.2 million people to relocate this month, state media said Friday. Forty people were missing.

Chen Lei of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief office said the coming rain would exacerbate the flooding, according to Xinhua.

Storms and floods have affected more than 35 million people in 10 Chinese provinces this month. By Thursday, the nation had recorded at least 26 billion yuan (about $3.8 billion) in economic losses, Xinhua said.

Conson had weakened from a typhoon to a tropical storm before its landfall late Tuesday in the Philippines, but that didn't keep the storm from inflicting damage, as it traversed the archipelago off the Asian mainland. Conson, known as Basyang in the Philippines, then traveled across the South China Sea, picking up strength.

Along with the rising death toll, the Philippines' National Disaster Coordinating Council said Saturday that 87 people were missing.

 
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