May 18, 2006

Typhoon Chanchu kills 16 in China, 4 missing

BEIJING (Reuters) - A typhoon that battered south and east
China has killed 16 people and left another four missing, state
media said on Friday.

Typhoon Chanchu, which brought heavy rain and winds up to
170 km per hour (106 miles per hour), made landfall between the
cities of Shantou and Xiamen and worked its way up the coast
early on Thursday.

Eight people died in Guangdong province, and the other
eight in Fujian, which lies opposite Taiwan, the official
Xinhua news agency said in reports carried in state newspapers.

Chanchu -- the strongest typhoon on record to enter the
South China Sea in the month of May -- triggered house
collapses and landslides in Guandgong's Shantou city.

The weather in Shanghai -- China's commercial and financial
hub -- eased on Friday as the typhoon weakened, after bringing
heavy rain and gusting winds in what officials said was the
season's earliest typhoon to affect the city in 80 years.

The typhoon, which killed at least 37 people when it swept
across the Philippines last weekend, had forced the evacuation
of more than one million people in China and the cancellation
of flights and ferries.

Typhoons, drawing strength from warm water, roar into China
from the South China Sea every year between May and September,
losing power once they make landfall.

(Additional reporting by Godwin Chellam in Shanghai)