Hotel collapses into river as Typhoon Morakot batters China

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The Independent Online

A hotel that was six storeys high collapses and is swept away in Chihpen, Taiwan after torrential rain from Typhoon Morakot caused the island's worst flooding in half a century. Three people died and 31 were reported missing.

The 300 guests of the hotel in Chihpen had mercifully been evacuated and all escaped the storm uninjured.

One million people, meanwhile, fled to safety before the same typhoon slammed into China's south-east coast later yesterday with winds of over 70 miles an hour destroying hundreds of homes, uprooting trees and inundating farmland. Many flights into and out of the country were cancelled and fishing boats were forced to take shelter.

Witnesses said the sky turned completely dark in Beibi, Fujian province, just before the storm made landfall. Morakot, which means "emerald" in Thai, was weakening last night as it moved northwards towards Shanghai.