Shanghai cancels flights as Typhoon In-Fa lashes eastern China

A man with luggage walks in the rain on The Bund as Typhoon In-fa approaches Shanghai [cnsphoto via Reuters]
A man with luggage walks in the rain on The Bund as Typhoon In-fa approaches Shanghai

Two international airports in the Chinese city of Shanghai have cancelled all flights and authorities banned outdoor activities as Typhoon In-Fa lashed eastern China with high winds and heavy rains.

In-Fa landed in the Putuo district of the city of Zhoushan, a major port in the eastern province of Zhejiang, at 12:30pm (04:30 GMT) on Sunday, state broadcaster CCTV said, citing the China Meteorological Administration. The storm hit as central China is still reeling from record flooding that killed at least 63, cut off power and forced the relocation of more than one million people.

“We will make every effort to ensure the safety of people’s lives and property, and do everything to minimize disaster losses, and strive to achieve the goal of no deaths and few injuries and economic losses,” said Yuan Jiajun, Zhejiang province Communist Party secretary, during an inspection of preparations on Saturday, official media reported. Melinda Liu, Beijing bureau chief for Newsweek, said “the problem with this typhoon is not only that it is wreaking economic havoc in some key parts in China but also that it comes at a very delicate time”.

“It first of all comes just a few days after a massive flooding in central China which has disrupted lives of a million people and killed dozens. Not just killed people but also created images that went viral on social media, some very graphic pictures of people who apparently drowned in a subway system,” she said. “But there is also a political significance and the point of that is probably going to play out in the coming months.” “There is a possibility that … if the handling of the preparedness is not up to par, then the government might be blamed.”

After flooding 6km (4 miles) of roads in Zhoushan with seawater and felling around 1,000 trees in Shanghai on Sunday afternoon, the typhoon was due to make a second landfall on the coast between Zhejiang’s Jiaxing city and Jiangsu province’s Qidong city on Sunday night. The Meteorological Administration earlier said the typhoon was moving at a speed of 15 km per hour (9 miles per hour).

In-fa’s wind speeds were up to 38 metres per second, the Meteorological Administration said. That is equal to about 137 kph (85 mph), according to Reuters calculations.

The Zhejiang emergency management department upgraded its typhoon response to the highest level on Saturday, closing schools and markets and suspending road traffic when necessary. Both Shanghai, home to about 26 million people, and Hangzhou to the south cancelled inbound and outbound flights from Saturday, and many train services in the region were also halted.

The Shanghai government said it would slow its subway trains and suspended some lines from noon, and Hangzhou authorities also cancelled all underground trains. Flooding in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou last week killed 12 people who were trapped in the subway system.

Shanghai Disneyland would close on Sunday and Monday because of the weather, the resort announced, while the city’s Yangshan Port has evacuated hundreds of vessels, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The typhoon was set to linger in eastern China after its second landfall and bring strong rainstorms to Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, and Shanghai, said Xinhua.

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