Typhoon Saomai, the eighth to hit China this year and bringing with it winds of up to 126 kms per hour, is predicated to hit the Chinese mainland Thursday afternoon or evening, meteorologists in east China's Fujian Province said Tuesday.
Saomai, which is the Vietnamese name for the planet Venus, is expected to make landfall near the north coast of Fujian Province and the southern coast of Zhejiang Province Thursday, a spokesman with the Fujian provincial meteorological station said.
At 2:00 PM Tuesday, Saomai was located at sea 1,430 kms southeast of Zhejiang with winds recorded at 126 km per hour at its eye, according to the Zhejiang provincial meteorological station. It was moving northwest at a speed of 25 km to 30 km per hour, a station spokesman said.
Some 1,000 kilometers away, Tropical storm Bopha is following on the heels of Saomai and also approaching Fujian, according to the local meteorological station spokesman. It would be the ninth major storm to hit China this year.
At 1:00 PM Tuesday, Bopha, the Cambodian word for flower, was located at sea 320 km east of Taidung County in Taiwan. Its strongest winds were blowing at 82 km per hour. It's moving westward at 20 km per hour.
The provincial meteorological station on Tuesday afternoon warned local citizens that the two storms, which are only 1,000 kms apart, could increase each other's strength to create an even stronger climatic event.
Two policemen killed in rescue operations
Two policemen have been killed taking part in rescue efforts in disaster-hit areas.
Su Zhijie, 25, died on July 27 in Fujian when he tried to save people trapped in floods caused by Typhoon Bilis. Wang Jixian, a patrolman in Zhaoqing City in Guangdong, was killed on August 4 in a huge mud flow after pulling two people from the mud.
China has deployed more than 50,000 policemen for rescue work in regions hit by natural disasters this summer, the police authority said on Tuesday. Wu Heping, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security, said China's police have played a very active role in disaster-relief efforts in the series of typhoons, floods, mud flows and land slides that have hit the country in the past two months.
About 40,000 police were mobilized in southern Guangdong Province, with 8,000 in central Hunan Province, another 1,500 in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and 3,000 in the eastern Fujian Province, according to police sources.
"The police have made huge efforts and great sacrifices," Wu said. He explained that police forces all over the country had been ordered to stay on alert for more potential natural disasters and were ready to make sacrifices to maintain public order and safeguard people's lives.
According to official figures 11 police died on duty in the first five months of the year and 164 others were injured. The majority of officers who die on duty were the victims of attacks by criminal suspects, said a police source.
(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2006)