Rain-battered China braces itself for tropical storm 'Haima'

Tropical storm 'Haima' has forced officials to suspend operations of passenger ships in the south Qiongzhou Strait, located between Guangdong and Hainan provinces.

The temporarily suspended service has left over 100 people stranded, said Wu Qiang, deputy manager of Xiuying Passenger Ferry Company in Haikou, the capital city of Hainan Province.

At Meilan International Airport in Haikou, no flights took off or landed today due to the storm, said officials.

According to the National Meteorological Center's broadcast yesterday, 'Haima' will bring torrential rains to southern Fujian, southern Guangdong, eastern Hainan, and central and southern Taiwan with wind speeds up to 17.1 meters per second at the Qiongzhou Strait.

Yesterday, Hainan's provincial marine bureau assembled its tropical storm emergency response system and issued a typhoon alert.

Hainan provincial meteorological administration said that gusty winds up to 24.4 meters per second and rainstorms will affect eastern Hainan, Qiongzhou Strait, Beibu Gulf, Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands for four days from today.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Ministry of Civil Affairs allocated 175 million yuan (USD 26.92 million) to help victims of flood-hit Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi and Sichuan provinces.

The MOF said the fund would be used to help relocate flood victims, provide temporary living assistance, reconstruct destroyed buildings and offer financial assistance to the families of those who perished in the floods.

Persistent rains have wreaked havoc in southern China since June 3, leaving at least 175 dead and 86 missing and forcing nearly 1.64 million people to evacuate, the ministry said.

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