Tropical Storm Wutip: 75 Missing Off China's Coast; Vietnam Hit

Image: Tropical Storm Wutip: 75 Missing Off China's Coast; Vietnam Hit Huge tide caused by typhoon Wutip in Sanya, south China's Hainan province, Sept. 29, 2013.

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013 09:22 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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Tropical storm Wutip hit central Vietnam on Monday, causing mass destruction, after sinking at least two Chinese fishing boats near the Paracel Islands that left 75 fishermen missing, officials said.

Tropical storm Wutip uprooted trees, cut power lines and damaged more than 1,000 houses. There was no immediate word of injuries, flooding or major structural damage, according to the Associated Press. 

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Vietnam's national weather center said tropical storm Wutip had weakened from a typhoon to a tropical storm by the time it made landfall. It was packing sustained winds of 117 kilometers (73 miles) per hour, it said.

Officials evacuated tens of thousands of people from tropical storm Wutip's path over the previous day.

Schools in five central provinces closed and the coast guard told 61,000 fishing boats with 303,000 crew members to take shelter.

By nightfall, tropical storm Wutip had blown the roofs off of more than 1,000 houses in one district alone, local government official Pham Huu Thao said. TV footage showed uprooted trees and deserted city streets in central towns close to the tropical storm Wutip's center.

Tropical storm Wutip sank at least two Chinese fishing ships as it neared the coast near the Paracel Islands, leaving 75 fishermen missing, according to the website of the Hainan government in south China. Two vessels sank Sunday and contact with a third has been lost, it said.

Tropical storm Wutip was the strongest typhoon to gather off Vietnam this season. The most powerful Asian storm this year was Typhoon Usagi, which caused at least 33 deaths in the Philippines and China earlier in September.

Vietnam is particularly prone to tropical storms and flooding, which kills hundreds of people and causes millions of dollars in damage each year.

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