Typhoon Sarika Hits Hainan, China Issues Red Alert
Chinese authorities have evacuated half a million people in the wake of Typhoon Sarika hitting Hainan. The country has also issued a red alert.
A large number of flights bound for Hainan have also been canceled. The typhoon landed at Hele Town at 9:50 a.m. Sarika is the 21st typhoon of the year.
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Sarika packed winds of 162 kms per hour, causing havoc. A bus carrying 45 passengers was reportedly overturned by the strong winds and slippery road. However, no casualties have been reported. The National Meteorological Centre has issued a red alert, which is the highest level alert in China's color-coded weather warning system. The capital city of Haikou is estimated to have suffered economic losses amounting to nearly $148 million.
The Hainan Civil Affairs Department has been evacuating fishermen and people living in low-lying areas. The department is also providing relief materials including food, water, and quilts. The main civil airport of the area--the Meilan International Airport--has had to cancel 250 flights on account of the typhoon. Similarly, high-speed train services have also been negatively affected.
Cai Qinbo, the provincial meteorological station chief, said that the losses caused by the typhoon are likely to be grave. He said that the Sarika is likely to be the most destructive typhoon to land in Hainan in a decade.
Typhoon Sarika hit the Philippines before reaching China. It is estimated to have caused $44 million worth of agricultural damage in the country. Two casualties were also reported in the Philippines.