In Taiwan Typhoon Morakot has already wreaked havoc, producing spectacular damage and hitting the south of the island with its worst flooding in half a century.
Several areas reported rainfall of 200 centimetres on Friday and Saturday, with flash floods washing away homes, bridges, roads and power lines. In Pingtung county 4000 people are cut off in flooded villages waiting for help. It is feared that much of the south’s agricultural produce has been wiped out by the typhoon, and the cost of the storm is already estimated at at least a billion dollars. Now weakened, Morokot has slammed into the mainland Chinese coast, where one million people were evacuated from the eastern coast just before 120 kilometre-per hour winds crashed waves onto the shoreline and heavy rains forced authorities to empty lakes into the Yangtze river. At least one cargo ship is in difficulty, and tens of thousands of other ships have been ordered back to harbour amid warnings of seven-metre waves. Flights have been cancelled from Fuzhou and Xiamen. For the moment the death toll in China is low; a child died when he and four other people were trapped as their home collapsed.