Typhoon forces Thousands to Evacuate; Rescue Efforts in Sichuan after Flooding

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Typhoon Soulik has been downgraded to a storm after forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people in south-east China and killed at least two in Taiwan.

China's National Meteorological Centre said it was downgraded to a tropical storm by late Saturday, and by early Sunday morning, after moving inland from Fujian province, it had further weakened to a tropical low pressure.

However, thousands of people were evacuated from the area.

The typhoon had disrupted transportation and commerce across Taiwan, cutting power to 520-thousand homes around Taipei before hitting coastal Fujian on Saturday afternoon, where about 300-thousand people were evacuated from their homes, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Earlier, Soulik had buffeted large areas of northern and central Taiwan with torrential rains, forcing authorities to close schools and businesses throughout northern Taiwan.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in southern China, rescue workers were digging new routes to reach people still trapped by landslides amid deadly week-long storms that have killed at least 86 people.

Sichuan province has reported at least 48 storm-related deaths over the past week.

Flooding in Sichuan was the worst in 50 years for some areas, with more than 220-thousand people forced to evacuate.

Mudslides and flooding are common in China's mountainous areas, killing hundreds of people every year, but in some areas the current floods are already the worst in half a century.

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