Typhoon Saomai batters China

Friday, August 11, 2006

Typhoon Saomai as seen from space
Category 5
Category 5

Super Typhoon Saomai made landfall in the eastern province Zhejiang in China around 5:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. By Friday evening Saomai had left a path of destruction in Zhejiang and neighboring province Fujian. Over 100 people have been reported dead with even more missing. An estimated 3.5 million people were affected by the storm, some 1.6 million of whom were evacuated.

Reports from the civil affairs bureau tell of large-scale material destruction. In Zhejiang, 18,000 houses were destroyed and in Fujian, 32,000. Hundreds of thousands of buildings have been damaged. Phone and power lines were knocked down and outages were wide-spread.

With wind speeds of 216 km/h (135 mph) at the time of landfall it is the strongest typhoon to hit China since August 1, 1956, when a storm with wind speeds of 244 km/h killed 4,900 people.

Emergency plans have been implemented and supplies are being sent in from other provinces. The central government has allocated 166 million yuan to assist the affected region.