Two dead as Typhoon Conson hits southern China

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Media captionChinese TV shows people trying to survive the typhoon in China

At least two people have been killed as Typhoon Conson battered China's southern island of Hainan.

A security guard and a motorcyclist died after being hit by falling giant billboards in two separate incidents, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The storm added to the worst floods in China for years, which have already killed more than 135 people in July.

Conson later moved toward northern Vietnam, where it is expected to come ashore later on Saturday.

Some 200,000 people in the area have already fled their homes, officials say.

The storm arrived in southern China after hitting the Philippines, where 38 people were killed.

The China Meteorological Administration said the typhoon had windspeeds of 78mph (126km/h) when it hit Hainan late on Friday.

It had been downgraded to a tropical storm after it left the Philippines but strengthened into a typhoon again before hitting the city of Sanya.

The storm also brought heavy rains to the tourist resort, uprooting trees and cutting power supply, Xinhua said.

Flights, shipping and ferries were suspended as the storm approached the island, which is popular with tourists. About 24,000 fishing boats were recalled to their ports.

'Crucial point'

Torrential rains across a huge area of southern China have already killed about 400 people this year.

More than 35 million people across China have been hit by the poor weather and 1.2 million have been relocated.

Central China is facing its worst floods since 1998 as rain continues to batter the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

"Although the current situation along the Yangtze River has yet to reach the danger level, it is definitely at a crucial point," the China Daily quoted senior flood official Wang Jingquan as saying.

If heavy rains hit the upper reaches of the Yangtze, severe flooding similar to that of 1998 was expected, Mr Wang said.

More than 4,000 people died in the Yangtze floods in 1998, and more than 18 million people were displaced, the China Daily newspaper said.

Yunnan, Sichuan, Hunan, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces have all been hard hit by July's heavy rains and floods.

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