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Typhoon Sinlaku Kills 9 in China, Weakens - 2002-09-08

Typhoon Sinlaku has killed at least nine people in eastern China but has weakened as it heads inland. Two people are missing and the storm caused heavy property damage.

Typhoon Sinlaku hit mainland China Saturday evening near the coastal city of Wenzhou, more than 300 kilometers south of Shanghai. China's official media says that some 300,000 people were evacuated from their homes in three cities to escape possible flooding.

The strong winds and heavy rain destroyed homes, uprooted trees and interrupted communications.

By midday Sunday Sinlaku was weakening, and had been downgraded to tropical storm status.

Chinese media reports say the typhoon caused more than $37 million in property damage and wrecked at least 1,000 homes in Wenzhou. Just south of Wenzhou, in the town of Cangnan where the fatalities occurred, relief workers were restoring power and helping the population recover Sunday.

On Friday, Typhoon Sinlaku brushed past Taiwan, doing moderate damage. Earlier last week, it passed over Japan's Okinawa islands, leaving five missing and injuring about 30 people.

Sinlaku hit about a week after seasonal rains swelled the Yangtze River and China's largest lake, Dongting, threatening millions of people in the southern province of Hunan.

Floods have killed more 1,500 people in China over the past few months, and caused more than $8 billion in damage.