Nearly 2 million evacuated as Typhoon Haikui hits China

SHANGHAI Wed Aug 8, 2012 7:30am EDT

1 of 4. A rescuer carries a woman to a safer area in Taizhou, Zhejiang province August 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Typhoon Haikui struck China on Wednesday, packing winds of up to 110 km per hour (68 mph), prompting officials to evacuate nearly 2 million people and grounding hundreds of flights to and from Shanghai and other cities.

More than 1.5 million people in the eastern province of Zhejiang and 252,000 residents of outlying parts of Shanghai were evacuated after Haikui landed early in the morning, causing flooding and stranding hundreds of people, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 500 domestic and international flights to and from Shanghai's two airports, Hongqiao and Pudong, have been cancelled as of 10:30 a.m. (0230 GMT), the Shanghai Airport Authority said on its microblogging account.

China's top three carriers - Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd - have also cancelled all flights to and from Hangzhou and Ningbo, both south of Shanghai, until noon, they said.

No ships had been allowed in or out of Shanghai's ports, the world's busiest by container volume, since Tuesday night, an official at the Shanghai Water Authority said.

Another key port in Ningbo, in Zhejiang province, has also been shut.

Some trains to and from Shanghai, the country's commercial hub, have also been cancelled. The city's financial markets remained open, however.

By late evening, the centre of the typhoon is expected to have moved northwest although wet and windy conditions are likely to persist, according to Tropical Risk Storm's website www.tropicalstormrisk.com/.

Haikui forced nearly 270,000 people in the Philippines to flee their homes, prompting authorities to close schools, financial markets and offices.

(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Writing by Kazunori Takada; Editing by Jason Subler and Robert Birsel)

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