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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Typhoon drives million from homes

By Quentin Sommerville
BBC Shanghai correspondent

A woman cycles in strong winds and rain in eastern China
People were warned to stay inside as Typhoon Matsa hit
More than a million people have been forced from their homes in China's Zhejiang province as Typhoon Matsa hit the country's eastern coast.

One person was killed in Shanghai and there has been widespread disruption to shipping and aircraft.

The typhoon, which brought with it heavy rain and winds of up to 180km/h (112mph), has now been downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves north.

But the authorities warn the risk of more flooding and landslides remains.

Shanghai, a city of more than 20 million inhabitants, faced a night of heavy storms and minor flooding.

Airports closed

The streets were largely deserted, as residents took heed of the warning to stay indoors.

A construction worker was killed and three people injured when their dormitory collapsed, according to the state media.

People sleep in an emergency shelter in Hangzhou
Those in vulnerable areas left their homes for emergency shelters

The howling winds also brought with them the danger of flying debris.

Shanghai saw both its domestic and international airports close.

Across the coastal Zhejiang province, some 1.2 million people were advised to leave their homes for safer areas and emergency shelters.

The typhoon has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, although there remains a risk of further flooding and landslides as it heads north-west towards the scenic provincial capital of Hangzhou.

The region's rivers and reservoirs are already swollen from earlier storms, including Typhoon Haitang, which killed 12 people last month.


SEE ALSO:
Timeline: China
04 Aug 05 |  Country profiles
Typhoon Haitang loses its force
20 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Typhoon Haitang reaches SE China
19 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan lashed by Typhoon Haitang
18 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: China
02 Jun 05 |  Country profiles


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