2 killed as typhoon strikes southern China
BEIJING (AP) – A typhoon that left a trail of destruction and dozens dead in the Philippines killed two people in southern China before moving toward northern Vietnam on Saturday as a strong tropical storm.
Typhoon Conson turned billboards lethal on China’s southern resort island of Hainan. The state-run Xinhua News Agency said a falling billboard killed a motorcycle rider Friday night, and another toppled and buried a security guard under debris.
By 8 a.m. Saturday, Hainan’s meteorological station said Conson was moving northwest over open water again and had downshifted into a strong tropical storm. It was expected to hit northern Vietnam on Saturday afternoon or evening and was moving at 12 miles (20 kilometers) an hour.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged authorities in 23 northern and central provinces on Friday to ban ships and fishing trawlers from sailing. He also ordered local governments to evacuate people from high-risk areas and to advise others to stockpile food and medicine.
The storm left a mess in Hainan, China’s version of Hawaii. Provincial officials said 79 flights were canceled Friday night in the resort city of Sanya, and almost 40,000 people across the province had been evacuated to safer ground by Friday evening.
China’s first typhoon of the year roared in after striking the Philippines, where 39 people were dead and 84 were missing.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, in a nationally televised emergency meeting, scolded the weather bureau for failing to predict that Conson would hit Manila, which left government agencies unprepared for the onslaught.
As the storm moves northwest, the southern areas of China’s manufacturing-heavy Guangdong province and the neighboring Guangxi region were expected to see torrential rains.
But Conson was not expected to hit areas in China already battered by weeks of flooding.
Flooding and landslides in communities along the Yangtze River and other scattered parts of China have killed more than 130 people so far this month, and Xinhua reported Friday night that flooding and landslides killed at least 11 people Friday in the central province of Hubei.