About 20,000 soldiers and paramilitaries were deployed on China's eastern border Thursday to boost rescue and disaster relief efforts as Typhoon Saomai stormed ashore.
The military were ordered to help relocate people in danger, guide returning fishing boats, and contribute to flood prevention work, according to military sources in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces.
About 500 vehicles, speed boats, and over 300 rescue teams were ready for disaster relief action in Zhejiang Province, the provincial military source said.
Many of the solders had already taken part in disaster prevention work, the source said.
Of the more than 50,000 police and soldiers that China has deployed for rescue work in regions hit by natural disasters this summer, two have been killed.
Typhoon Saomai, the eighth to hit China this year and the strongest typhoon in the almost six decades since New China was founded in 1949, made landfall in Cangnan County, east China's Zhejiang Province, at 5:25 PM Thursday.
The typhoon is lashing Cangnan with gales and rainstorms, and has already flattened 1,000 houses, and cut 97 percent of county power lines and 40 percent of local communication links.
Over 80 people have been injured, according to local sources, and 20,000 hectares of rice fields have been inundated.
(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2006)