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China faces cleanup of huge storm

Published August 13, 2006

BEIJING - Chinese authorities distributed emergency food supplies to evacuees and began large-scale cleanup efforts Saturday in the wake of Typhoon Saomai, which killed 105 people and left another 190 missing after it tore through the country's southeast and wrecked more than 50,000 homes.

Saomai, the Vietnamese name for the planet Venus, was the eighth major storm to hit China during an unusually violent typhoon season. Its winds gusted up to 170 mph, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The weather bureau said Saomai was the most powerful typhoon since 1949, when officials began keeping records.

Hardest-hit was Zhejiang province, where the typhoon made landfall on Thursday, and the bulk of the deaths occurred in the city of Wenzhou, where at least 81 people were killed and 11 were missing, Xinhua said.

The region was bracing for more torrential rain over the weekend.

Much of the area is still recovering from Tropical Storm Bilis, which killed more than 600 people last month, many of them in mountain villages and other inland areas.

Elsewhere ...

Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez declared his candidacy for re-election on Saturday.

Congo: President Joseph Kabila's share of the vote in Congo's historic elections rose above 50 percent Saturday as 1-million more votes were counted and certified, official results showed. More than 16-million votes from the July 30 presidential election remain to be counted.

[Last modified August 13, 2006, 02:27:27]

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