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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 August 2006, 03:47 GMT 04:47 UK
Dozens die in South China storm
Trees blown over by Tropical Storm Prapiroon at a farm in China's southern Guangdong province.

The death toll from Tropical Storm Prapiroon in southern China has risen to at least 55, with 17 people still missing, state media report.

The storm made landfall on Thursday in Guangdong and has also affected the provinces of Hunan, Guangxi and Hainan.

It has forced the evacuation of some 530,000 people and caused an estimated 2.4bn yuan ($300m) worth of damage.

Prapiroon was downgraded from a typhoon on Friday but continues to pound the region with winds and rain.

It has caused transport chaos in recent days, with thousands of passengers stranded at Hong Kong airport.

More than six million people were affected by the typhoon, officials said.

Rescue

The latest fatalities include six migrant farm workers whose shelter was swept away by a flash flood in the city of Laibin in Guangxi province, Xinhua news agency said.

Earlier, Xinhua reported that one person was killed in a landslide in the same province, where hundreds of houses and hundreds of acres of farmland have been destroyed.

Map of China

Three people died in a landslide in Guangdong, while two more deaths were caused by lightning. Three more were killed when walls or billboards fell down, Xinhua said.

A 25-year-old policeman trying to rescue survivors was killed by a mudslide in Sihui city, Guangdong, the Guangzhou Daily newspaper reported.

State television showed pictures of police and soldiers carrying children through chest-deep, fast flowing water.

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.

Typhoon Bilis

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

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.

Eleven million mobile phone text messages were sent warning the public ahead of the typhoon's arrival, Guangdong's provincial government said on its website.

Prapiroon, which means "God of Rain" in Thai, also killed six people in the Philippines.

Southern China has been hit hard by typhoons this season.

More than 600 people died when Typhoon Bilis struck six southern provinces last month. 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.


SEE ALSO
Southern China typhoon toll rises
04 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
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
Chinese storm kills more than 180
18 Jul 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: China
24 May 06 |  Country profiles

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