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On July 20, 2014, I sent the following email to Shrimp News’s 6,925 registered readers:
Hi, I’ve been tracking the progress of Typhoon Rammasun on the Internet and in the world press since it hit The Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, crossed the South China Sea on Thursday, July 17 (where it sucked up additional strength) and slammed into Hainan Island, China, and the south coast of China on Friday, July 18.
Thus far, I have not come across any reports of its affect on shrimp farms, but it must have had some effect on shrimp farming in the Philippines, and it had to have a major impact on the many shrimp farms and hatcheries on Hainan Island and in southern China, especially those in Guangxi and Guangdong provinces, both of which have large concentrations of shrimp farms.
Please forward reports on how the typhoon affected you, your region and your shrimp farm or hatchery.
I’ll bring all your reports together and post them as a special report on my webpage. Please provide your name, email address and a brief description of your relationship to the shrimp industry—something like the following:
• A shrimp farmer on Hainan Island
• A researcher in China
• A hatchery manager in The Philippines
The New York Times: A powerful typhoon ripped across the Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, sending hundreds of thousands of coastal residents fleeing to evacuation centers and leaving several people dead, although officials said the toll could rise.
Typhoon Rammasun cut a path of destruction from the country’s east to its northwest edge, with 90-mile-an-hour winds that tore roofs off homes, felled trees that blocked roads and cut electricity to at least 4.5 million people. It passed near the capital, Manila, but it appeared to have been spared the worst of its effects.
On Wednesday afternoon, the storm crossed the northern Philippine island of Luzon and entered the South China Sea, moving on a path toward the Chinese island of Hainan.
CNN World: In a two-and-a-half-minute video that contains some great graphics and satellite images of the eye of the typhoon, CNN’s Karen Maginnis reported “astounding” rain fall totals (331 millimeters, more than 12 inches) in Haikou, China).
Along with the video, you’ll find the following notes: The strongest typhoon to hit southern China in four decades has killed at least 16 people in the region after leaving scores dead in the Philippines.
Strong winds and rain from Typhoon Rammasun hit dozens of southern coastal cities in the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan and the region of Guangxi, affecting more than 3 million people.
The powerful storm made landfall on the island province of Hainan about 1:30 p.m. on Friday, July 18, 2014.
Planes were grounded in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi, stranding 1,300 passengers, and train service between Nanning and coastal cities was suspended.
After weakening during its passage across the Philippines, the storm gained strength again over the South China Sea, rising rapidly from a Category 1 storm to a Category 5, as it made its way to China.
Reports From Readers
Chris Denmark (firstname.lastname@example.org), Corporate Quality Assurance Director at H&N Group in Vernon, California, USA, reports (July 20, 2014):
I was on Hainan Island the day before the storm and “escaped” to Beihai in Guangxi Province only to get hit by the typhoon there. The coastal areas of Guangxi have some damage and electricity outages, but the damage doesn’t seem to be too bad. Hainan was hit very hard with serious damage to ponds and infrastructure especially buildings. I saw photographs of processing plants with no roofs and heard reports of crop loss and damage to the shrimp/tilapia ponds along the coast. I was in China looking at the supply of tilapia for the USA market.
Djames Lim (email@example.com), a developer of large shrimp farms in Asia, reports (July 20, 2014):
I’m in Hainan now. The situation is definitely not good for shrimp farms. Farms in Wenchang and Haikou were completely devastated because they experienced 285 kilometer per hour winds. Many farmers died and others were blown into the floods or the ocean. Sandy beaches turned into rock and stone beaches. Flooding occurred everywhere. This was the worst typhoon in 40 years. Cities are without water, the Internet and electricity. One feed mill silo collapsed. Many hatcheries lost their roofs and were flooded.
Jimmy Lu (firstname.lastname@example.org), a hatchery owner on Hainan Island, China, reports (July 21, 2014):
I am owner of Global Hatchery (Penaeus vannamei) on Hainan Island, China. I am busy rebuilding my hatchery now. The damage is major. Large hatcheries, including mine, and shrimp farms have been hit hard.
Jimmy Lim (email@example.com), a hatchery owner on Hainan Island, reports (July 21, 2014):
Yes, definitely a major disasters to coastal and inland fish and shrimp farms. We lost 60% of our ready to sell fingerlings during the storm. Most reports in the news are in Mandarin (Chinese) and need to be translated. The whole of Hainan Island, especially the northeast region, looks like a war zone. The typhoon has now moved past Hainan and on to Guangdong and Guangxi provinces on the China mainland.
We have received the following messages about the storm's effect in China:
In Wenchang, Hainan, Xuwen, Zhanjiang, Guangdong, Beihai and Jiangxi, almost all shrimp hatcheries have been damaged by the typhoon, and billions of postlarvae have been lost.
Wenchang, Hainan, Xuwen, Zhangjiang, Guangdong and Donghai Island are the biggest producers of shrimp broodstock, producing more than 70% of China’s broodstock. Every big hatchery—Haida, Yuehai, Haiyi, Blue Ocean, GuangTai and LuTai—lost broodstock. After the typhoon, 65% of the broodstock was dead or gone with the wind and water. It’s not possible to restock ponds this year with postlarvae from newly imported broodstock because of the five-month period from purchasing to spawning. Postlarvae prices have already increased by 20-30%.
Shrimp News: If you would like to add information to this report, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll append it to the bottom of the report.
*Footnote: “Typhoon”, “Cyclone” and “Hurricane” all mean the same thing, a rapidly rotating tropical storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, strong winds and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Generally, on the Pacific coasts of Asia, they are called “typhoons”; in the Bay of Bengal, “cyclones”; and on the Atlantic coasts of the Western Hemisphere, “hurricanes”.
Sources: 1. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International. Typhoon Rammasun. July 28, 2014. 2. The New York Times. Storm Leaves Trail of Destruction in Philippines. Floyd Whaley. July 16, 2014. 3. CNN World. Typhoon Rammasun Kills More Than 100 in China and Philippines. Joshua Berlinger (story) and Karen Maginnis (video). July 19, 2014.
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