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Provinces on Full Alert as Tropical Storm Hits

Tropical storm Pabuk triggered landslides that killed at least 11 people in the Philippines, then blew across southern Taiwan's tip yesterday, disrupting power supplies to 3,000 households and forcing schools and offices to close.

Pabuk swept through China's eastern provinces last night, unleashing heavy rainfall in Zhejiang and Fujian.

Earlier more than 266,000 fishermen and sailors, along with 50,401 fishing vessels, were recalled to land in Fujian Province.

Pabuk bolstered monsoon rains across the Philippines, causing a landslide that buried seven houses and killed at least 11, according to Glenn Rabonza, administrator of the government's Office of Civil Defense.

Pabuk blew out of the mountainous northern Philippines just before noon and then swirled across the southern tip of Taiwan, bringing heavy rain but causing no major damage or casualties, according to Taiwan's Weather Bureau.

An official with the provincial flood control headquarters said all 50,401 fishing vessels had returned to harbor in Fujian, while the 266,000-plus fishery workers and sailors were back on land by 9:30am yesterday.

After hitting southern Taiwan, Pabuk - named after a large freshwater fish in Laos - moved northwest at 25 kilometers per hour.

A stronger storm, Wutip, has developed over the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines and is forecast to hit Fujian tonight, according to the Fujian Meteorological Observatory.

The eighth tropical storm of this year, Wutip, which means butterfly, came into being in the Pacific Ocean to the east of the Philippines at 8:00am yesterday.

It will be more powerful than Pabuk, said Lin Xinbiao, deputy director of the observatory.

The education department of Fujian has ordered all schools to suspend classes until the storms have passed, while the provincial tourism bureau had closed all sightseeing spots along the coast by late yesterday morning.

(Shanghai Daily August 9, 2007)

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