China braces for super typhoon Usagi

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-09-22 07:16

China braces for super typhoon Usagi

Big waves are seen in Pingdong county, Taiwan as super typhoon Usagi approaches Taiwan on Sept 21, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua] 

GUANGZHOU - Southern Chinese coastal provinces have evacuated residents, issued alerts and canceled air and shipping services as super typhoon Usagi strengthens over the Pacific and moves towards China.

Usagi is expected to hammer south China's Pearl River Delta some time between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.

Usagi was 660 km southeast of Hong Kong at 5 p.m. Saturday, packing a wind speed of 187 km per hour at its center. It was moving northwest at a speed of up to 20 km per hour, the National Meteorological Center said in a latest update.

The agency issued the highest level of alert for Usagi, warning that it will bring gales and downpours to southern and southeastern coastal areas.

The center said Usagi would bring strong storms to the east of Taiwan and the coastal areas of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces on Saturday and Sunday.

China Southern Airlines said it would cancel flights in and out of Hong Kong on Sunday and cancel flights to Shantou, Zhuhai and Shenzhen in the Pearl River delta as of 10 a.m. Sunday as local airports could be battered by heavy rains and strong gales starting Sunday noon.

The airlines would notify affected passengers through phone calls, text messages and emails, it said.

Meanwhile, the Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong, has issued a yellow alert over the approaching typhoon and stepped up support measures to guarantee safety and deal with emergencies.

Guangdong government has issued warnings and activated the second highest alert for disaster response. Local authorities have been sending SMS messages to coastal residents, telling them to be prepared for the super typhoon.

Guangdong has increased the number of salvage forces. More than 44,000 fishing boats and 19,000 fishermen have been told to return to harbors and land.

Meanwhile, Guangdong's neighboring Fujian Province has evacuated more than 80,000 people and deployed over 50,000 disaster-relief personnel.

"Typhoon Usagi is strong and dangerous. It poses quite significant threats to Fujian," said Su Shulin, governor of the province. Su told local officials to be solidly prepared.

Shipping transport between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan has been partially suspended.

Most shipping lines from Xiamen City to Kinmen and all lines from Quanzhou City to Kinmen were canceled on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the government in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has issued alerts and officials in Hainan Province were told to step up their typhoon watch.

Civil affairs authorities in Guangxi were told to mitigate the impact as much as possible, according to the local government.

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