Transport links suspended as storm bears down on China

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 29, 2011 3:53 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - Tropical storm Nock-Ten began bearing down on the southern Chinese rubber-producing island of Hainan on Friday, forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights, ferries and rail services, state media reported.

The storm has killed at least 41 people and caused more than 1 billion pesos ($23.7 million) in infrastructure and crop damage in the Philippines.

It is expected to make landfall on Hainan's northeastern coast on Friday evening, and will bring heavy rain to the island as well as to neighboring Guangdong and Guangxi, before moving across into Vietnam, China's weather bureau said.

At least 14 flights have been canceled from Hainan's provincial capital Haikou, and the rail-boat ferry service to the mainland has been suspended, Xinhua news agency added.

All scenic spots on Hainan, which styles itself as China's answer to Hawaii or Phuket, have been closed for safety reasons, the report said.

Hainan is also the country's second biggest natural rubber producer.

($1 = 42.185 Philippine Pesos)

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Sally Huang; Additional reporting by Manny Mogato in Manila; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)