Typhoon Usagi hits southern China, killing at least 25

Story highlights

  • Typhoon Usagi damaged hundreds of houses in Guangdong province
  • More than 200,000 people had to be relocated because of the storm
  • Hong Kong, which had been in its path, avoided a severe impact
  • Airlines are scrambling to deal with hundreds of canceled flights

At least 25 people have died after Typhoon Usagi slammed into the coast of southern China, state media reported Monday.

Bringing strong winds and heavy rain, Usagi forced the relocation of hundreds of thousands of people, the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the closing of a major shipping lane.

"Usagi has devastated the eastern part of Guangdong," where it made landfall late Sunday, the state-run news agency Xinhua said.

The storm trashed construction sites, damaged hundreds of homes and cut off power and water, the news agency reported. Twenty-five people have so far been confirmed dead, it said.

At one point the most powerful storm so far this year, Usagi has menaced the region for days. It left at least two people dead and three others missing in the Philippines and at least nine people injured in Taiwan.

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    Typhoon Usagi strikes southern China

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The typhoon weakened Sunday as it got nearer to the Chinese coast, but was still packing sustained winds of around 160 kilometers per hour (100 mph) when it hit land. By Monday afternoon, it had faded to become a tropical depression.

The densely populated financial center of Hong Kong, which had appeared to be in the storm's path before it began to track in a more northerly direction on Sunday, avoided the worst of its fury.

    Seventeen people in the territory sought medical attention, eight of whom were admitted to hospitals, authorities said.

    Flights disrupted

    Usagi, which means rabbit in Japanese, also wreaked havoc on transportation, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights at Hong Kong International Airport, according to airport officials.

    With thousands of passengers stranded, airlines and airport authorities were scrambling to deal with the backlog as flights resumed Monday.

    Major Chinese airlines, including China Southern Air, canceled flights into the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, Xinhua reported.

    In preparation for the storm's arrival, four of six reactors at the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station in Shenzhen reduced their operating capacity, Guangdong authorities told Xinhua.

    A total of 226,000 people were relocated in Guangdong, the news agency cited the local civil affairs bureau as saying.

    The typhoon severely damaged or destroyed 7,100 houses, it reported.

    In neighboring Fujian Province, more than 80,000 people were evacuated and 50,000 disaster-relief personnel were deployed, Xinhua reported.

    A major shipping lane between Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Taiwan was closed Saturday in anticipation of the storm's arrival.

    More than 22,000 fishing boats in Fujian and another 48,000 in Guangdong have been ordered into port, authorities told Xinhua.

    East Asia is buffeted for several months a year by heavy storms that roll in from the Pacific. At its peak, Usagi eclipsed Super Typhoon Utor, which hit the Philippines and South China last month, as the strongest storm of the year so far.

    About 50 people died as result of Utor in China, and 11 people were killed in the Philippines.