Tropical Storm Approaches Liaoning; Chemical Spill Feared (Updated)

Tropical Storm Muifa is advancing on northeastern China after causing four deaths in the Phillippines, injuries in Okinawa, and power outages in Shanghai and South Korea. From the BBC:

Muifa was downgraded from a typhoon to a severe tropical storm on Monday but was still causing huge disruption.

It is now expected to make landfall somewhere between Zhuanghe in Liaoning province and western North Korea on Monday evening.

Qingdao city in Shandong province shut its beaches as the storm swept by ….

China’s official Xinhua news agency said the storm had destroyed nearly 170 homes and caused damage estimated at 1.9bn yuan ($290m; £176m) in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

Xinhua reports on storm defence efforts at a vulnerable chemical plant in Dalian:

Workers driving forklifts on Monday rushed to repair a dike guarding a chemical plant breached by powerful waves triggered by an approaching tropical storm in Northeast China over fears of a toxic chemical spill.

Waves as high as 20 meters, fueled by strong winds, broke the dike in Jinshan Industrial Zone of Dalian city, at about 10:30 am, threatening to hit the compound of Fujiahua chemical plant where toxic chemicals were held, said soldiers who participated in the rescue.

Residents in nearby areas are being evacuated.

Update: The Associated Press reports that the situation at the Fujiahua plant appears to be under control:

A tropical storm lashed northeastern China and the Korean peninsula on Monday, but fears of a toxic chemical spill appeared to have eased after a breached dike guarding a chemical plant was reinforced ….

An official from Dalian’s Propaganda Department referred to two reports on a Dalian news website that said the danger had been controlled and the dike was being reinforced with large stones and concrete. The official gave only his surname, Zhang, as is common with Chinese officials.

The U.S. Embassy, however, urged Americans in the area to “take all necessary precautions.”

August 8, 2011 12:51 AM
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Categories: China & the World