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September 24, 2010

Storms wreaking havoc in Asia


September 24, 2010

BEIJING: Severe storms and floods sweeping Asia this week have killed dozens of people and displaced hundreds of thousands across large swathes of the continent, with more storms forecast.
Record monsoon rain and the onslaught of tropical storm Fanapi wreaked devastation from South Korea to India, triggering landslides, washing away thousands of homes and tearing through roads and railways. Thirty-three people have died and 42 are missing after Fanapi churned through southern China, while 65 people were killed in monsoon rain in India and 100,000 displaced after a lake burst in southern Pakistan.
Fanapi made landfall on mainland China on Monday, one day after slamming Taiwan with heavy rain, killing two people and leaving more than 100 injured on the island. All of China’s deaths occurred in the southern province of Guangdong, which saw its worst rain in a century, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.
Five died after a dam burst while two were killed when their house collapsed, the report said. Of the missing, 25 disappeared in a rain-triggered mudslide.
Over 78,000 people in Guangdong have been evacuated due to the storm, which destroyed some 1,400 homes, local authorities said, according to Xinhua. Initial direct economic losses amounted to two billion yuan, Xinhua said.
Fanapi was moving west at up to 10 kilometres an hour, bringing torrential rain in its wake, meteorologists said.
At its strongest point, when it hit Taiwan on Sunday, Fanapi was packing winds of up to 220 kilometres an hour and dumped up to 1,000 millimetres of rain in the south of the island.
The storm caused damage estimated at around five billion Taiwan dollars (158 million US), officials said.
Two people went missing and thousands of homes flooded when a record rainstorm hit parts of South Korea during a national holiday, the disaster control agency said Wednesday.

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