China Battles to Save Chemical Plant from Storm

Posted August 8th, 2011 at 3:40 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese official media report that workers are battling to save a chemical plant on China's northeast coast, after waves from a severe tropical storm breached a dyke Monday morning.

The Xinhua news agency says Tropical Storm Muifa is barreling toward the Fujiahua chemical plant in the city of Dalian. Residents are being evacuated, while soldiers and workers with forklifts are trying to reinforce the dyke.

Muifa has swept up the Chinese coast and also threatens South Korea, where it left three people dead on Monday.

South Korean officials say Muifa has toppled hundreds of power lines, cutting power to thousands of houses in southwestern provinces, while roads, port facilities and breakwaters on the country's west coast were destroyed in dozens of places.

Officials at the Korea Meteorological Administration said Monday that Muifa will get weaker as it passes over the Korean peninsula and continues to track northeastward into Russia.

Before it was downgraded, Typhoon Muifa battered the Chinese eastern port city of Qingdao with high waters and heavy surf. China's official Xinhua news agency said more than 100,000 people were evacuated Monday from homes in Shandong province, surrounding Qingdao.

The typhoon weakened Sunday as it approached China's coast, avoiding a direct hit on Shanghai and heading north toward Shandong. But the winds and rain caused power outages in some parts of the city and forced more than 200 flight cancellations.

Earlier, authorities evacuated more than 600,000 residents of Shanghai and the nearby coastal areas. They ordered 63,000 vessels to dock. Shanghai television reported that a 24-year-old swimmer was missing in heavy surf.

Muifa claimed several lives as it passed through the Philippines last week. It also lashed the Japanese island of Okinawa Friday, causing injuries but no reported deaths.