September 1, 2005

Typhoon kills five before weakening over China

BEIJING (Reuters) - Typhoon Talim killed five people as it
swept across Taiwan and China's eastern coast and forced
hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, but has since been
downgraded to a tropical storm, state media said on Friday.

A father and son were killed on Thursday when their house
collapsed in Fuzhou, capital of China's Fujian province, before
the center of the storm reached the mainland, Xinhua news
agency said.

In hard-hit Taiwan, the death toll had risen to three with
59 people injured, according to the island's National Fire
Administration's disaster response center.

As of late Thursday, more than 780,000 homes in Taiwan were
without power and 48,000 had no access to clean water.

Chinese authorities bracing for the storm had evacuated
nearly 500,000 people to safety, the China Daily said.

Fujian authorities also shut schools and airports, closed
sections of highway and suspended ferry services to ride out
the storm, the newspaper said.

The storm, which kicked up waves as high as 10 meters (33
feet) off Fujian, was predicted to plow north up the coast and
pelt Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Jiangsu provinces as well as booming

Typhoons frequently menace Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines,
Hong Kong and southern China during the storm season that lasts
from early summer to late autumn.

A powerful typhoon churning toward Japan's Okinawa islands
strengthened by Friday to a Class Five storm -- technically the
same strength as Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans
-- and experts said it could also threaten Japan's southernmost
main island.

Typhoon Nabi -- Korean for "butterfly" -- had increased in
power to super-typhoon status, the Tropical Storm Risk group at
University College London said on its Web site,

(Additional reporting by Tiffany Wu in Taipei)