Typhoon wreaks havoc in China's south

Typhoon wreaks havoc in China's south
Rescuers use a motorboat to carry people stranded in floodwaters to safety.

CHINA - At least 20 people are dead and seven are missing across Guangdong province on Monday afternoon after Typhoon Utor slammed into the region with high winds and torrential rain, according to the Guangdong Provincial Department of Water Resources.

The authorities said that among the casualties, at least 10 died after dikes in Puning and Shantou in eastern Guangdong ruptured on Sunday and Monday, flooding low-lying homes.

Many villages and towns along the coast are flooded, according to a statement by the city government of Shantou on Monday.

"I saw many houses collapse during the storms and some pedestrians were washed away," said a villager named Liao who lives in nearby Simapu. "The water level was still rising by Monday morning."

Liao said the local People's Liberation Army garrison used steamboats and rubber dinghies to help rescue flood victims.

More than 19,000 houses have been destroyed and another 7,000 damaged in 18 cities in Guangdong since Utor swept through western parts of the province on Thursday. So far, Utor has caused 4.9 billion yuan (S$1 billion) in direct economic losses and affected approximately 4.16 million people.

Many people asked for help through micro blogs when their houses flooded.

Over the past two days, the Shantou bureau of water resources urged locals on its official micro blog to seek help through the social networking platform and inform the authorities of their location and the surrounding flood conditions.

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