(Update: adds info on evacuations, economic losses)
Beijing, Sep 6 (EFE).- At least two people have died and one was missing in Fuzhou, in southeast China’s Fujian province, after Typhoon Haikui triggered widespread floods in the region.
A fire engine carrying nine firefighters was swept away by floods in Chili village in Yongtai county, state-run Xinhua news agency reported late Tuesday.
By 5 pm on Tuesday, eight firefighters had been found, six of whom were in stable condition.
However, two firefighters lost their lives despite rescue efforts.
Authorities were still searching for one missing person, according to Fuzhou’s fire and rescue department.
More than 36,000 people have been evacuated due to the historic rains in Fujian, which have caused losses of more than 550 million yuan (75 million dollars), Chinese state media reported Wednesday.
Typhoon Haikui, the 11th this year according to China’s meteorological authorities, made landfall in the province around 5:20 am on Tuesday, causing winds of up to 20 meters per second near its center, the provincial meteorological observatory said.
The typhoon caused heavy rains in Fuzhou with rainfall exceeding 300 millimeters in some areas over a 24-hour period.
China has issued a Level III – second highest – emergency response to flooding and typhoons in Fujian and Guangzhou provinces.
Several railway services and maritime passenger routes were canceled in the region due to the storm while school classes were also suspended in different cities of the affected areas.
According to statistics released by China’s Ministry of Emergency Management on Wednesday, 8.8 million people were affected in the country by natural disasters in August, including 168 people who died or went missing and 547,000 who were displaced.
Before making landfall in China, Haikui slammed the island of Taiwan on Sunday, with maximum sustained winds of 101 kilometers per hour (63 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 126 kilometers per hour.
The Taiwanese authorities evacuated more than 3,000 people in the worst affected areas, where more than 74,000 homes were left without electricity due to heavy rainfall, which in parts of southern Taiwan reached 700 millimeters. EFE