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18 die as 130mph typhoon hits China

The strongest typhoon to hit southern China in four decades has killed 18 people, the government said today, while in the Philippines the death toll from the storm's earlier destruction rose to 94.

Typhoon Rammasun killed nine people and left five missing after hitting Hainan island on Friday off China's southern coast, the civil affairs ministry said in a statement. Nine others died later in the Guangxi region as the storm raged into the mainland on its way north to Vietnam.

The typhoon is the strongest to hit southern China in 41 years, according to the China Meteorological Administration. Wind speeds reached 130mph, with the storm knocking down power lines and damaging buildings.

Authorities in southern China ordered the highest level of alert and suspended hundreds of buses, trains and flights across the region.

The typhoon had wreaked havoc earlier in the week in the northern Philippines, leaving 94 people dead.

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