Severe damage and casualties as Super Typhoon Rammasun pummels southern China

One person dies, 60,000 are evacuated and hundreds of flights cancelled as South China's strongest storm in 40 years makes landfall

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 7:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 2:55am

South China's strongest typhoon in four decades made landfall in Hainan yesterday afternoon, leading to one fatality, the evacuation of hundreds of thousands and the cancellation of hundreds of flights, state media reported.

Super Typhoon Rammasun ploughed into Wengtian, a town on the northeastern tip of the island, at about 3.30pm, packing winds of up to 216km/h, according the National Meteorological Centre.

Watch: Super Typhoon Rammasun hits southern China, bringing heavy rain, winds

By 7.30pm, the typhoon had arrived in Guangdong, cutting power to Xuwen , a town of 730,000 residents. It was expected to veer south to Guangxi early this morning and move into northern Vietnam.

A man was killed by debris as his house collapsed in Wengtian, Xinhua reported.

More than 217,000 residents had been evacuated from fishing boats, low-lying areas and buildings in Hainan, and about 30,000 in Guangdong, Xinhua said, quoting disaster relief authorities.

The meteorological centre and the Hong Kong Observatory have classified Rammasun as a "super typhoon" and the strongest to hit southern China since 1973.

The mainland issued its highest "red" typhoon alert for the first time this year.

More than 334,000 homes in Hainan lost power and nearly all water supply in the capital Haikou was cut off, mainland media reported.

"The wind was so loud that it almost felt like I was on an airplane," one resident of Haikou wrote on Weibo.

Haikou Meilan International Airport cancelled all flights, while at least 93 flights were cancelled at Sanya Phoenix International Airport by late afternoon. More than 10,000 passengers were affected.

About 675 ships had returned to harbour in Sanya ahead of Rammasun making landfall, the local government said.

The typhoon is being blamed for the deaths of 64 people in the Philippines.