Typhoon Batters China Coast

Typhoon Batters China Coast

BEIJING (AP) -- At least two people were dead and 17 others missing after Typhoon Nepartak battered China's coast with heavy rain and strong winds that toppled homes and triggered landslides, officials in southeastern Fujian province said Sunday.

Fujian's water resources department said that more than 438,000 people had been relocated. Hundreds of flights and trains were canceled, while damaged power stations left swaths of the province without electricity.

Nepartak, the first typhoon of the season, first struck Taiwan on Friday with even greater power, leaving two people dead and 72 injured.

It weakened into a strong tropical storm after making landfall in Fujian on Saturday, but continued to soak the region, where emergency workers scrambled to reach residents trapped on the upper floors of submerged buildings and collapsed homes.

The Fujian water resources department's website said that two people were killed and 17 others missing, but did not give more details.

Unusually heavy rain has pounded southern China in recent months, triggering severe flooding along rivers, including the Yangtze. Meteorologists blame the floods on a particularly intense El Nino weather pattern that has resulted in up to a 50 percent increase in rainfall in certain areas.

The government said Friday that 164 people have been killed by floods, hail and landslides since June 30, while 32 million people across 26 provinces have been affected.

Dramatic pictures have emerged of people pushing cars through waist-high water and a soccer stadium with rainwater filled to its upper rafters in Wuhan, a central Chinese city that has been particularly hard hit.

(KA)