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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Southern China typhoon toll rises
Dark clouds over the Hong Kong waterfront

Typhoon Prapiroon has killed 18 people in southern China and forced the evacuation of some 530,000 residents, according to Chinese reports.

The deaths occurred in Guangxi, Hainan and Guangdong, where the storm made landfall late on Thursday. Seven more people were missing, CCTV said.

The typhoon has caused transport chaos, with thousands of passengers stranded at Hong Kong airport.

Prapiroon is moving inland but has been downgraded to a tropical depression.

More than six million people were affected by the typhoon, CCTV said, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

In Guangdong, three people were killed in a landslide, while two more died when they were hit by lightening, Xinhua news agency reported earlier. Three more people were killed when walls or billboards fell down.

One person was killed in a landslide in Guangxi province, where hundreds of houses and hundreds of acres of farmland had been destroyed, the agency said.

Stranded

Transport in the region was severely disrupted. At Hong Kong airport, the cancellation of more than 800 flights on Thursday left thousands of passengers stranded. More flights were delayed on Friday, as were flights from Nanning in Guangxi.

Map of China

Ferries between Hainan island, south of Guangdong, and the mainland were suspended, while rail services were also disrupted.

Before the storm, officials had told people to leave vulnerable areas of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, warning of widespread flooding and landslides.

More than 53,000 fishing vessels were recalled to harbour, but 68 people had to be rescued from a barge off the Guangdong coast, Xinhua said.

Prapiroon has already killed six people in the Philippines. More bad weather is forecast over the weekend for southern China, which has been hit hard by typhoons this season.

More than 600 people died when Typhoon Bilis hit six southern provinces last month. Guangdong's neighbouring province, Hunan, was worst affected, with hundreds killed in flash floods and landslides.

Bilis was followed by Typhoon Kaemi, which caused further destruction in the area.

Prapiroon means "God of Rain" in Thai.


SEE ALSO
In pictures: Typhoon Prapiroon
04 Aug 06 |  In Pictures
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

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