Typhoon Morakot has slammed into eastern China, killing a child, destroying hundreds of homes and submerging farmland. China’s official Xinhua news agency says a four-year old boy died Sunday when his home collapsed in the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province. It says the city has recorded 70 centimeters of rain since Morakot made landfall earlier Sunday in Fujian province to the south.
Chinese authorities evacuated one million people to safety in the two provinces before the storm hit with winds of up to 120 kilometers an hour. Forecasters predicted Morakot would weaken as it moved north over land.
Earlier, the typhoon caused the heaviest flooding in 50 years in southern Taiwan. The island’s Central News Agency says seven people have been killed and another 46 people are missing. The storm has dumped more than 250 centimeters of rain on southern Taiwan since Friday, submerging villages and stranding thousands of people.
Taiwan’s government deployed several thousand troops and police to help with rescue and relief efforts. Taiwan’s Central News Agency says President Ma Ying-jeou and Prime Minister Liu Chao-shiuan toured the south of the island Sunday to inspect the damage. Taiwan officials estimate the typhoon has caused millions of dollars in agricultural losses.
In one incident, a six-story hotel collapsed in Taitung county after floodwaters eroded its base. Staff and guests had already been evacuated. Before hitting Taiwan, rains and wind from Morakot triggered flash floods in the Philippines, killing at least 21 people, including two French tourists and a Belgian.
Typhoons normally strike the Asia-Pacific region between July and September.