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High winds from Typhoon Rammasun in south China's Hainan province take down a motorbike rider on July 18, 2014. / Gu Feng, European Pressphoto Agency

BEIJING - The death toll from Super Typhoon Rammasun rose to at least eight as thousands of people were evacuated in Vietnam's northeastern coastal areas ahead of its landfall there Saturday.

Rammasun, one of the strongest storms to hit China's coast in decades, roared into southern China on Friday afternoon, packing winds of up to 134 mph.

Xinhua, China's official news agency, reported five people died and 99 were injured after Typhoon Rammasun hit Hainan island Friday and three later died in the Guangxi region as the storm plowed into the mainland on its way north to Vietnam.

Earlier in the week, the storm caused havoc, widespread damage and at least 77 deaths in the Philippines. Rammasun then gathered strength as it crossed the South China Sea. It was upgraded early Friday from typhoon to super typhoon status.

Named after the Thai word for "thunder god," Rammasun made landfall in Wenchang City on the northeastern coast of Hainan - south China's tropical island province.

Xinhua said the storm is believed to be the strongest to hit the region in 41 years. Wind speeds reached 130 miles per hour, with the storm knocking down power lines and damaging buildings.

The mayor of Wenchang, Liu Chunmei, told Xinhua that many houses have been damaged. He said a man died after being hit by falling debris as his house collapsed. More than 70,000 residents near the landfall region were evacuated.

The typhoon follows heavy rains and landslides in China that have killed at least 45 people and injured 21 during the past week. Local governments have dispatched 66 working groups to 13 cities to supervise preparations for the typhoon, Xinhua said.

Contributing: Sunny Yang; Associated Press



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Typhoon Rammasun kills 8 in southern China

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