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Typhoon triggers landslides in China

Thursday, September 20, 2007

SHANGHAI, China -- Typhoon Wipha weakened Wednesday as it swept across China, bringing torrential rains that destroyed thousands of houses and triggered landslides, killing five people.

Authorities in Shanghai and nearby provinces evacuated some 2.7 million people, mostly from coastal regions, boats and unsafe housing.

Five people died in landslides unleashed by the storm, which was downgraded from a typhoon to a tropical storm after it hit land in southern Zhejiang province, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Another three people were missing, it said.

One man was also electrocuted in Shanghai and a construction worker killed in Taiwan, bringing the total storm-related death toll to seven.

The storm destroyed thousands of houses and disrupted power to more than 100 communities, Xinhua reported. It said preliminary estimates put the damage at $638 million and likely to rise.

Shanghai, a city of 20 million, closed schools, ferries and other transport links following forecasts of torrential rains and strong winds.

State television showed flooded streets, fields and homes. Rescue workers handed out packets of instant noodles and ferried residents stranded by local flooding to higher ground.

Organizers of the women's World Cup rescheduled Wednesday's Shanghai match between Norway and Ghana to Thursday and moved it to the neighboring city of Hangzhou. Three Wednesday games were rescheduled for Thursday to allow them to be played simultaneously with other final group matches.


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