Monday, September 23, 2013

Typhoon Usagi Stops Freight and Shipping Operations as Port Closes

Devastation in China and the Philippines
Shipping News Feature

CHINA – PHILIPPINES – Typhoon Usagi, which has swept throughout the South China Sea in the past couple of days, has proved to be the strongest storm which many in the devastated areas have ever witnessed. All freight operations ceased with the closure of the port, and most flights were cancelled in Hong Kong yesterday, despite this not being the worst hit area, whilst many shipping services in the region were suspended and tens of thousands of fishing boats remained in harbours across the south of the country. With winds of over 110 miles per hour hitting the mainland, so far at least 25 people have been drowned or crushed to death beneath falling trees or in cars blown off the roads.

The storm has affected over three and a half million people in mainland China and in Fujian Province over 80,000 had to be evacuated, whilst in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong, trains and flights were largely suspended for a time. Technology played a part in advising residents of the situation with those in isolated coastal communities updated by text from local authorities and the China Meteorological Office. The effects of Usagi, which translates as ‘Rabbit’, did not cease as the storm passed. Torrential rain followed in the path of the typhoon causing more death and despondency.

In the Philippines around twenty people are known to have perished in monsoon conditions worsened by the typhoon. Most casualties came from landslips with at least one woman drowned in her home. The town of Subic and its population of over 150,000 residents was completely cut off with over a hundred people taking to their rooftops to avoid the flooding. The typhoon itself was shrugged off by many residents, hardened by seeing around twenty major storms in a season. In 2011 tropical storm Washi accounted for more than 1250 deaths across the islands, due to the flooding in its wake.

Photo: Huge waves lashed the beaches and docks throughout the region.