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200,000 evacuated as Typhoon Mujigae hits southern China

A strong typhoon roared into southern China today, bringing powerful winds and heavy rain to the region after leaving more than a dozen fishermen missing in the Philippines.

Nearly 200,000 people in southern China were evacuated before Typhoon Mujigae made landfall near the city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong province just after 2pm, according to the National Meteorological Centre.

By 7pm its centre was located about 285 miles west of Hong Kong and moving steadily inland.

The centre had already issued a red alert - China's highest level of weather preparedness - warning that as much as 11ins of rain could fall in some places from today to tomorrow morning.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from the storm.

Packing winds of 112mph at its centre, Mujigae - rainbow in Korean - was moving north-west at about 12mph, the meteorological centre said.

The typhoon lashed both Guangdong and the resort island province of Hainan, where thousands of Chinese have flocked during the week-long National Day holiday that runs through to Wednesday. It is expected to weaken as it heads further inland over the next two days.

Scores of flights in and out of Hainan's main airport in the provincial capital of Haikou have been cancelled and high-speed rail service between Haikou and the tourist centre of Sanya was suspended.

More than 60,000 fishing boats returned to port in the two provinces and more than 40,000 fishermen working on fish farms moved to shelters, according to the provincial government websites.

Meanwhile, upwards of 500 tourists were sheltering in hotels in Guangdong's Fangji island after attempts to evacuate them were disrupted by high winds, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Mujigae, the 22nd typhoon of the year, blew out of the northern Philippines early today, causing floods and a few landslides and leaving more than a dozen fishermen missing, said regional Office of Civil Defence spokesman Mike Sabado.

More than 150 fishermen had been reported missing at the height of the storm, mostly from the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, but most sailed back home after taking shelter or were rescued at sea. Thirty fishermen remained unaccounted for on Sunday, Mr Sabado said.

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