Tropical Storm Forces Evacuations in China

China's official news service reported China's State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has launched a level-three disaster control emergency response to cope with tropical storm Kammuri.

Kammuri was expected to make landfall along the coast between the cities of Shenzhen and Dianbai in Guangdong Province on Wednesday 6 August 2008.

Chen Lei, deputy commander-in-chief of the headquarters, ordered local governments to start their emergency response mechanisms and make full preparations for the storm's landfall. He also ordered government departments to keep alert to mud floods and landslides caused by the storm, to ensure public safety and reduce losses.

The storm appeared in the northeastern part of the South China Sea and intensified into strong tropical storm at 8 am local time on Tuesday 5 August. Its center was about 240 km southeast of Guangdong's Taishan City at 7 pm that evening.

It was expected move northwest at 15 km per hour and hit land after sweeping through the offshore waters on the coast of Guangdong by Wednesday evening, according to the local forecast.

Gripped by the tropical storm, there were strong winds in the northern part of the South China Sea. It also rained heavily in the southern parts of Guangdong on Tuesday.

Chinese officials reportedly ordered evacuations of nearly 400,000 people and ordered over 57,000 vessels back to port.

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