China: typhoon kills 295

Some 59 bodies were found Monday in waters off Fuding, a port on the southeastern coast, raising the city's death toll in Typhoon Saomai to at least 178, with 94 people missing, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Saomai sank more than 1,000 ships and wrecked more than 50,000 houses when it slammed into China's southeast on Thursday with winds of up to 270 kph (170 mph).

China has mobilized thousands of soldiers to help rebuild damaged roads, power lines and water supplies.

Most of those killed in Fuding died "when the super strong typhoon broke the moorings on their ships which had sought shelter in the harbor," Xinhua said.

Fuding suffered at least 2.5 billion yuan (US$312 million; Ђ 245 million) in damage, mainly due to lost fishing boats and catches of fish, Xinhua said.

Saomai blacked out parts of Fuding and five other cities in Fujian province. More than 1.6 million people fled their homes in Fujian and the neighboring coastal province of Zhejiang, the AP reports.

The death toll stood at 206 in Fujian, 87 in Zhejiang and two in Jiangxi, an inland province that was hit by flooding and landslides as Saomai moved west across China.

The China Daily newspaper said Tuesday that 52 people were missing in Zhejiang.

Saomai, the Vietnamese name for the planet Venus, was the eighth major storm to hit China during an unusually violent typhoon season.

The region was still recovering from Tropical Storm Bilis, which killed more than 600 people last month.

Saomai killed at least two people in the Philippines and dumped rain on Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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