Typhoon Megi turns for Hong Kong and gains in intensity


AFTER WREAKING devastation on the northern Philippines, Typhoon Megi was regaining its destructive force and moving in the direction of southern China which it is expected to reach on Saturday near Hong Kong.

The typhoon has generated winds of 187km/h (116mph) near the eye of the storm, and is heading northwest at a speed of 10-15km/h, gaining in intensity, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Hong Kong has raised the mildest typhoon warning already and, given the combined effect of the northeast monsoon and Megi, winds generally over the territory were expected to strengthen gradually in the next couple of days.

China’s state oceanic administration is estimating waves of between 5m and 7m (23ft) in the next day or so.The ministry of civil affairs and the state disaster relief commission has issued a national early disaster warning to prepare for it.

In China, southern provinces like Hainan, Guangdong, and Fujian are getting set for heavy rains and strong winds.

Megi, which means “catfish” in Korean, is set to be the 13th and possibly strongest typhoon to hit China this year. The storm is expected to make landfall in Hainan or Guangdong province around Saturday.

In Haikou on the island of Hainan, authorities suspended passenger train services in and out of the island, and passengers would have to use coaches. Ferry services had not been affected. About 2,500 fishing boats have returned to harbour and the city of Sanya is taking down advertising hoardings to remove one potential threat to pedestrians.

Authorities in Hainan have prepared 120 rescue vehicles and 78 inflatable boats, according to the People’s Armed Police.

Megi destroyed thousands of homes in the northern Philippines and killed at least 15. The lives of more than 256,000 people were disrupted and Zambales in the northwestern part of Luzon was declared a state of calamity due to flooding, while more than 200,000 tonnes of rice were destroyed.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, flooding has killed at least 11 people in the past 10 days, and heavy rains meant there was a risk of flooding in parts of Bangkok.

Rescue teams evacuated stranded villagers by boat in some provinces, including the old Thai capital Ayutthaya where flood waters rose to about 1.5m in some districts. In Cambodia eight have died, according to Cambodia’s committee for disaster management. In Vietnam, more than 59 people were killed due to flooding.