China tries to avert crisis as storm threatens chemical plant

Waves as high as 20 meters, fuelled by strong winds, broke the dike in Jinshan Industrial Zone of Dalian City, today threatening to hit the compound of Fujiahua chemical plant where toxic chemicals were stored, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Residents in nearby areas of the chemical plant are being evacuated.The tropical storm Muifa, previously a typhoon, is expected to hit Liaoning coast, where Dalian is located, today afternoon, according to local weather forecast reports.

Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people were evacuated in east China's Shandong Province today as the tropical storm Muifa continues to move along the country's eastern coast.

More than 20,000 fishing boats were called back to harbor by early today morning, local authorities said.

According to the provincial meteorological observatory, the storm, which weakened from a powerful typhoon yesterday, has unleashed torrential rains in the coastal areas of Shandong, soaking as many as 85 counties and villages with precipitation levels of 50 to 100 mm.

The storm was located about 100 km southeast of the province and was moving north at a speed of 25 km per hour.

Muifa, the ninth typhoon to hit China this year, swirled into the East China Sea on Friday. It is predicted to land somewhere between north China's Liaoning Province and North Korea today.

A total of 756 temporary shelters have been set up in Liaoning's border city of Dandong, according to the Liaoning flood control and drought relief headquarters. The shelters are capable of accommodating over one million people, the headquarters said.

Six thousand military personnel are prepared to conduct rescue and repair work after the storm has passed, it said.

In the neighboring province of Jilin, the storm is expected to bring high winds and heavy rains, Wang Xiaoming, head of the provincial meteorological observatory said.

Local governments have been ordered to take precautions against any natural disasters that might occur as a result of the storm, he said.

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