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Disaster alert as typhoon heads for Shanghai

China warned residents and alerted emergency relief centres yesterday to prepare for a powerful typhoon forecast to hit the country's heavily populated eastern coast.

Typhoon Muifa is forecast to hit late today or early tomorrow close to Shanghai, a commercial hub with a population of 23 million. Fishing vessels were called back to ports in Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, while officials in charge of disaster relief centres in the region were told to get ready to distribute their supplies, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Shanghai's airports expect major flight delays and numerous activities were called off.

Typhoon Muifa dusted the northern edges of Taiwan with light rain and moderate winds yesterday.