China issues alert as typhoon nears

AFP-JIJI

China on Sunday was on its highest alert for Typhoon Fitow, with tens of thousands evacuated as the storm was set to slam into the country’s eastern coast as early as Sunday night, weather authorities said.

The National Meteorological Center issued a red alert for the storm, saying it was expected to make landfall late Sunday or early Monday in an area between southern Zhejiang province and northern Fujian province.

On Sunday morning the storm, which the center classified as “strong,” was located about 360 km southeast of the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province and moving at a speed of between 15-20 kph.

Zhejiang has so far evacuated more than 130,000 people ahead of the expected landfall, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said.

“We must not leave anybody in danger,” Li Qiang, the provincial governor said, requesting local authorities increase inspections of dams and reservoirs as well as safety checks of chemical plants and other important facilities, Xinhua reported.