Typhoon Usagi hits Hong Kong, Philippines

Sep 23, 2013 | News

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By Sarah Rea

Typhoon Usagi has affected 3.5 million people across the Chinese mainland, leaving many homeless and killing at least 25 people in Guangdong, South China.

The storm, now reported to be dying out, has also taken 22 lives in the Philippines, according to local authorities.

Hong Kong’s port, recognized as one of the worlds busiest, had been shut from 6:00 p.m. local time on Sunday, as the highly populated area prepared for this year’s strongest storm yet.

Usagi, meaning rabbit in Japanese, had winds of up to 180 km/h recorded, uprooting trees and sweeping cars off roads, according to weather officials.

Xinhua News Agency said 50,000 relief workers have been sent out after victims were reported to have drowned or been hit by loose debris.

According to BBC News, more than 80,000 people have moved themselves and their belongings to Fiji after over 7,000 homes collapsed and power in many parts of Guangdong had been cut.

Karen Snider, a senior media manager for the Canadian Red Cross Association said, “during this time, the Chinese Red Cross has not appealed to the Red Cross movement for additional funds to aid its response.”

“In a disaster such as this, the local Red Cross would be on the ground immediately to help provide basic relief supplies, such as food, water, blankets, as well as set up shelters,” Snider said. “Also, often in disasters families may become separated from one another, so the Red Cross would set up a family reunification process to help families find lost loved ones.”

Hong Kong’s airport authority reported over 400 flights delayed or cancelled from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, while trains from Guangzhou to Beijing were suspended. Classes were cancelled and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has been closed leading to major economic losses.

The manager at Higgins Storm Chasing in New South Wales in Australia, Jeff Higgins, told Humber News that typhoons usually occur in certain seasons in Japan, ranging from July to October every year.

“It isn’t always easy to prepare for a typhoon, but many people in this area of the world almost expect it during this time of year,” says Higgins.

“Cumulonimbus clouds produce heavy rain and strong winds that form fast, in short periods of time, that’s why it’s not always easy to warn people a typhoons coming. It often looks like a regular storm until it decides to develop rapidly, and by that time it can be too late to warn.”

During the summer in areas of East Asia, tropical cyclones and typhoons are expected to end in October.