Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Typhoon In-fa forces closure of Shanghai airports

The storm hit as central China is still reeling from record flooding that has made more than a million homeless.

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Typhoon In-fa slammed into China’s east coast province of Zhejiang on Sunday, causing mass evacuations in Shanghai districts.

Communities have been drenched in knee-deep water and 10,000 trees have been uprooted, although there are no immediate reports of any major damage.

About 330,000 residents of the Fengxian District on Shanghai’s southern side have been evacuated.

The storm made landfall in the city of Zhoushan, south of commercial hub Shanghai, shortly after midday, packing wind speeds of up to 100kph with gusts of up to 155kph.

Authorities shut Shanghai’s two international airports, with hundreds of flights cancelled. Train services were also suspended and residents were warned to remain indoors.

Government officials closed the Zhoushan Bridge to islands near Ningbo and ordered schools, markets and businesses in Zhejiang province to remain shut.

Ports along the east coast halted operations, and container ships had to be moved from Shanghai’s Yangshan Port on Saturday.

The storm hit as central China is still reeling from record flooding that has now killed more than 60 people and made more than a million homeless.

The national weather agency forecast heavy rainfall of 250-350 millimetres in the region as the typhoon moves north along the coast.

“It is necessary to be highly vigilant and prevent disasters that may be caused by extreme heavy rainfall,” the Meteorological Administration said on Sunday.

Some of the areas hit by last week’s flooding could also be affected.

“People should not willingly go outdoors,” the Chinese national weather agency said.

Chinese authorities say the death toll has now risen to 63 people after devastating floods in central China, where a year’s worth of rain fell in the space of just three days.

Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan province, was among the hardest-hit areas. Dramatic footage showed commuters trapped in subway trains with rising water levels. Twelve people drowned as the city’s subways became flooded death traps.

Cleanup operations have led to the discovery of more victims who were found in the flooded underground system. Officials say five people are still missing.

The flooding has affected millions, and left many without food or water for days. The damage is expected to run into the billions.

Annual summer flooding is not unusual in China, although this season’s deluge is raising a number of questions, with climate change being among the key issues of concern.

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