Typhoon hits China’s Hainan after shutting down Hong Kong

Typhoon hits China’s Hainan after shutting down Hong Kong
A man picks up his motorcycle amid heavy rainfall and strong winds as typhoon Kalmaegi makes landfall in Haikou, south China's Hainan province.

BEIJING - A powerful typhoon slammed into southern China Tuesday, swamping ships, grounding flights and forcing thousands - many of them still recovering from a previous storm - to leave home.

Typhoon Kalmaegi made landfall on the east coast of Hainan island packing winds of 144 kilometres (89 miles) an hour, the China Meteorological Administration said.

More than 20,000 residents have been resettled in 24 camps in Hainan since Monday, state media said, following earlier reports which said 90,000 people were evacuated.

Kalmaegi follows Typhoon Rammasun in July, the strongest storm to hit China in four decades, which killed 62 and left swathes of devastation in the south of the country.

Survivors of Rammasun told state news agency Xinhua that while Kalmaegi appears weaker, they still feared for their livelihoods.

"Our new house has yet to be completed and we suffer again," Xinhua quoted Gao Yuanfu, who has been living in a tent since Rammasun destroyed his house, as saying.

"It is only half a month away from the harvest," he added.

Gao, from Hainan's Wengtian Township, badly injured his leg in the previous typhoon, the report said.

Images of the havoc caused by Kalmaegi showed scores of downed trees, urban streets flooded in knee-deep water and torrential rain.

More than 170 flights on Hainan were cancelled as of 9am on Tuesday, while 4,300 fishing boats in one county were called back, Xinhua said, following reports late Monday that 30,000 vessels had returned to harbour.

Rescuers in a helicopter plucked 12 Chinese sailors from a sinking cargo vessel as the storm approached the Chinese coast, Xinhua said.

But no casualties had been reported from the typhoon as of noon, the news agency added.

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