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Typhoon weakens as it reaches heavily populated southeast China; Taiwan plane crashes in rain

Residents look at a tree that fell on a car in the aftermath of Typhoon Matmo in the city of Fuzhou in southeast China's Fujian province Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Typhoon Matmo churned ashore in southeastern China on Wednesday and was downgraded to a tropical storm, while the death toll from last week's more powerful Typhoon Rammasun rose further. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

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Residents look at a tree that fell on a car in the aftermath of Typhoon Matmo in the city of Fuzhou in southeast China's Fujian province Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Typhoon Matmo churned ashore in southeastern China on Wednesday and was downgraded to a tropical storm, while the death toll from last week's more powerful Typhoon Rammasun rose further. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

BEIJING, China - The second typhoon to hit China in a week quickly weakened to a tropical storm as it reached the country's heavily populated southeastern provinces on Wednesday after passing across Taiwan overnight.

Rain was still falling in Taiwan as a plane crashed on its second landing attempt and caught fire, and Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih said 47 people were trapped and feared dead. Yeh was quoted by the government's Central News Agency as saying another 11 people on the TransAsia Airways flight were injured.

Taiwan's weather agency said Typhoon Matmo had gusts of 108 kilometres (67 miles) per hour and was moving at 20 kph (12 mph). The Fujian province's flood control headquarters said nearly 300,000 people had been evacuated ahead of the storm.

Authorities in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, had ordered fishing boats to return to port and stepped up patrols to watch for breaks in coastal and river embankments, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The typhoon injured five people and knocked out power to 31,505 homes on Taiwan, according to the island's Central News Agency.

On the mainland, rains of up to 300 millimeters (12 inches) were forecast in Shanghai and areas as far north as Jiangsu province, Xinhua said, citing the country's weather agency.

Farther south on the mainland, communities in Guangdong province and on Hainan Island were clearing away debris left by Rammasun, which hit China on Friday.

The government also raised the death toll from last week's more powerful Typhoon Rammasun.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said 56 people died, raising the total in the Philippines, China and Vietnam to 161 deaths.

Rammasun, with winds of up to 216 kph (130 mph), was the strongest typhoon to hit China in four decades. It destroyed 40,000 houses, knocked out power and water supplies and caused 38 billion yuan ($6 billion) in economic losses, the ministry said.

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