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More than 376,000 people evacuated as Typhoon Longwang slams southeast China
2005-10-03 04:07:56 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


Road workers carry out relief efforts as a sedan has been hit by a fallen tree uprooted by gusts of wind from Typhoon Longwang in Quanzhou, East China's Fujian Province on October 2, 2005. (Xinhua photo)



A bus is stranded in a submerged street in Fuzhou on October 3, 2005, after Typhoon Longwang has raided Fujian Province. (Xinhua photo)

BEIJING, Oct. 3(AP) -- Typhoon Longwang pounded southeast China with heavy winds and rains but appeared to be weakening as it moved inland, weather officials said Monday. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Some 376,000 people in Fujian province were evacuated to safety Sunday before Longwang struck the eastern coast at 9:35 p.m. (1335 GMT), the official Xinhua News Agency said. More than 38,000 boats were brought back to harbor, Xinhua said.

The storm, which packed high winds and torrential rains, was moving inland toward the city of Longyan on Monday, said an official from the Fujian Meteorological Bureau.

"But it appears to be abating and may be downgraded to a tropical storm later in the day," said the official, who would give only her surname, Wang. She said she was "unclear" if anyone had been injured.

China has suffered numerous heavy storms this year. In September alone, typhoons Talim, Khanun and Damrey killed more than 130 people across the southern part of the country.

Thousands of officials in Fujian had fanned out Sunday to oversee storm preparations, Fujian's anti-flood headquarters said on its Web site. "We must ensure that not one person dies," it said.

Longwang, which means "Dragon King" in Chinese, lashed the island of Taiwan on Sunday before churning toward mainland China. One man died after his house collapsed on him, and one woman was missing after being washed into a raging river, officials said.

Another 46 people suffered minor injuries, and seven houses were destroyed, the island's Disaster Relief Center said.

Officials in Taiwan said at least half a million homes suffered power blackouts, mostly in the city of Hualien, where the typhoon made landfall on the island.

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