[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
China typhoon's death toll rises
Rescuers help a man from a collapsed building in Wenzhou
Dozens of people are still missing
China's most powerful storm in 50 years, Typhoon Saomai, has left at least 104 people dead, officials say.

The typhoon, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, was continuing to batter coastal regions with heavy rain and winds.

More than a million people were evacuated from their homes to temporary shelters before its arrival.

Official media said that more than 50,000 houses had been destroyed in the storm.

Collapsed house

The typhoon claimed its largest number of casualties in Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, where it made landfall early on Thursday evening.

In the nearby town of Jinxiang, the bodies of 41 villagers, including eight children, were found in the ruins of a collapsed house.

Map of the typhoon's path

They had been sheltering in the concrete structure because they thought it would withstand the storm better than their own houses, state news agency Xinhua said.

"The wind was so strong that whole windows were slammed into rooms," an official in Jinxiang told Reuters news agency.

"Lots of people were hurt here but my family are all okay," said Wu Yelian, a local resident. "I haven't seen a typhoon this strong in years."

On a local highway, trees had been blown over and debris from buildings was strewn around.

Heavy rain

Neighbouring Fujian province was also hard-hit, with at least 17 people killed and 138 missing, according to Xinhua.

Fifty thousand houses had been destroyed across the two provinces and 3.5 million people were affected, the agency said.

Power had been cut in parts of the region, where more than 30cm of rain fell within a twelve hour period in some areas.

Soldiers and officials were being sent to the region to help emergency rescue efforts.

Saomai has now been downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves inland, but the authorities warn that there is still the risk of landslides and flooding.

It was moving towards Anhui and Jiangxi provinces, but continuing to lose force, Xinhua said.

Saomai, which is the Vietnamese for morning star, is the eighth powerful storm to hit China this year.

Just last week, Typhoon Prapiroon killed about 80 people. Tropical Storm Bilis killed more than 600 in July.

Typhoons and tropical storms are common in the region between July and October, but this year they have been unusually frequent.

See the devastation caused by the typhoon

Animated guide: Typhoon
25 Aug 05 |  Science/Nature
Typhoon toll rises in south China
27 Jul 06 |  Asia-Pacific
China deaths spark cover-up claim
22 Jul 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese storm kills more than 180
18 Jul 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: China
24 May 06 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific