China: typhoon In-Fa halts travel as it hits east coast

The country's commercial hub Shanghai and neighbouring coastal regions have cancelled all flights

Pedestrians seek shelter from the rain and wind in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, as Typhoon In-Fa approaches China's east coast. AFP
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Chinese authorities moved residents away from coastal areas, shut down air, rail and sea traffic and ordered people to stay indoors as Typhoon In-Fa made landfall on Sunday.

In-Fa came ashore at around midday in Zhoushan, a major port in the eastern province of Zhejiang, south of commercial hub Shanghai, and was moving at a speed of about 15 kilometres an hour.

The storm hit as the central province of Henan was still cleaning up after torrential downpours dumped a year's worth of rain in just three days last week. Government officials on Sunday added another five dead to the toll from the freak flooding in Henan, raising the total to 63.

The weakening typhoon uprooted trees and drenched communities in knee-deep water in some parts of eastern China, but there were no reports of major damage.

In-Fa earlier dumped rain on Taiwan and knocked down tree branches, but no deaths or injuries were reported.

In Shanghai, China's largest city, the storm brought strong gusts of wind and steady but not heavy rainfall.

All inbound and outbound flights were cancelled on Sunday for the city's two international airports, as were dozens of scheduled trains, while activity at the ports of Shanghai and Ningbo – two of the world's largest – was also shut down.

The government announced that it would extend a suspension of railway services in and out of Shanghai until midday on Monday.

Some public attractions in Shanghai and other cities, including Shanghai Disneyland, also were closed and residents were warned to avoid outdoor activities.

The meteorological administration said In-Fa would weaken but continue to hover over a wide expanse of eastern China for days, bringing heavy rainfall – possibly to areas still recovering from last week's flooding.

"It is necessary to be highly vigilant and prevent disasters that may be caused by extreme heavy rainfall," the administration said on Sunday.

A passenger pushes his luggage past a blank flights information board at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, Sunday, July 25, 2021.  Airline flights were canceled in eastern China as Typhoon In-fa churned toward the mainland. AP

China has suffered an annual summer flooding and typhoon season for millennia, but the record rainfall in Henan has prompted questions about how cities could be better prepared for freak weather events, which experts say are happening with increased frequency and intensity because of climate change.

Millions were affected by the Henan floods, with some trapped without fresh food or water for days, and the economic losses have run into billions of dollars.

Updated: July 25, 2021, 12:48 PM