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Typhoon Herb Slams China, Killing One, Stranding 250,000

Sat., Aug. 3, 1996, midnight

Typhoon Herb pummeled the southeastern Chinese coast Friday, sweeping at least one person out to sea and stranding a quarter-million people.

In Taiwan, the death toll from Herb - the worst storm to hit the island in 30 years - rose to 19, with 39 missing, the government said.

Another 300 people in Taiwan were injured by the typhoon, which triggered deadly rockslides.

The typhoon lashed Taiwan on Wednesday, causing an estimated $365 million in damage to crops, roads and utilities. About 24,450 acres of rice paddies were damaged.

Herb was the second typhoon to hit Taiwan in less than a week. Typhoon Gloria killed three people last Saturday and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to crops.

Although the typhoon’s 87-mph winds began to weaken once it hit the Chinese mainland on Thursday, the storm dumped rains on areas trying to recover from widespread seasonal flooding.

The lower Yangtze River rose to dangerous levels in coastal Jiangsu province, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said Friday.

Flooding threatened 180,000 people, the news agency said.

In Shanghai, China’s largest city, Herb’s rains and winds whipped tides on the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek to their highest levels in 15 years, the Wen Hui Daily reported. Although dikes and seawalls held, high waters inundated 200 homes.

Fujian took the brunt of the typhoon. The provincial capital, Fuzhou, and surrounding areas received nearly 12 inches of rain, a provincial spokesman said.

About 4 million people lost property or were injured and 280,000 were stranded by the storm in the Fuzhou area, said the spokesman. who identified himself only as Mr. Peng.

“Some areas are under more than a meter of water,” Peng said.

The China Youth Daily said a village official on patrol in southeastern Fujian province was swept away by waves.

The China News Service, another government-run agency, said Thursday that five people were killed and five missing in coastal Zhejiang province, north of Fujian. Vice Gov. Liu Xirong of Zhejiang was quoted as saying that more than 300,000 people were evacuated in Wenzhou and Taizhou cities.

Peng said the typhoon hit Sanming, 100 miles west of Fuzhou, on Friday and was headed toward the Jiangxi border.

Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and six other provinces and regions are still drying out from seasonal downpours that have caused flooding since late June.

Those floods have killed more than 1,522 people, destroyed 2.5 million acres of crops and caused more than $11 billion) in economic losses.



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