Waves from Storm Threaten Chemical Plant in China

August 9, 2011

Towering waves from a tropical storm threatened to hit a chemical plant in a Chinese port city, raising fears it might lead to a toxic chemical spill, a Chinese state media report said Monday.

Waves as high as 65 feet (20 meters) broke a dike in Dalian in northeastern Liaoning province and threatened to hit the compound of Fujiahua chemical plant where toxic chemicals were held, Xinhua News Agency said, citing soldiers at the scene.

Workers used forklifts to try to repair the dike that guarded the chemical plant, and residents in nearby areas were evacuating, Xinhua said.

It did not say what types of chemicals were made at the plant or how dangerous they would be if released into the environment.

The waves were caused by Tropical Storm Muifa, which China’s weather agency forecast will make landfall Monday evening somewhere in Liaoning province or western North Korea.

The Central Meteorological Station said Muifa was creating sea gusts of up to 63 mph (102 kph) and traveling at a speed of 15-18 mph (25-30 kph). Muifa will weaken after making landfall and bring heavy rain to Liaoning, it said.

A day earlier, Muifa had moved along China’s eastern coast as a typhoon and downed power lines, billboards and trees in Shanghai and brought heavy rain to coastal Shandong province.

Last week, Typhoon Muifa killed four people in the Philippines without making landfall and caused injuries and power outages when it passed the Japanese island of Okinawa on Friday.

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