By and  on August 13, 2009

SHANGHAI — Typhoon Morakot has battered Taiwan and southeastern China over the past five days, but textile and apparel manufacturing operations appear largely unscathed.

Production was barely affected in China’s textile and apparel-manufacturing hub of Zhejiang Province. Four factories contacted by WWD, including two in the heavily flooded coastal county of Wenzhou, said operations weren’t disrupted during or after the storm.

Mike Pan, editor at textiles consultancy CCF Group, said the storm had no “obvious effect” on Zhejiang’s textile industry. Trade at the China Textile City International Exhibition Center in Shaoxing was not impacted since the worst days of Morakot hit over the weekend, when the market is closed, Pan added.

However, shipping suffered a slowdown, with over 30,000 ships recalled to ports in Zhejiang. As of Tuesday, over 200 international ships, most of them container ships, remained stranded in local waters due to the storm.

Morakot crossed southern Taiwan, dumping 50-year-record rains, before slamming into China’s coastal provinces.

“So far we haven’t heard of any damage,” said Pauline Chiang, section chief, industry information section of the Taiwan Textile Federation. “Taiwan’s textile factories are mostly located in southern Changhua and Tainan counties, both of which suffered flooding, but the factories are on high plains rather than lowlands,” Chiang said.

Damage in both Mainland China and Taiwan was mostly restricted to residential and agricultural areas.

Morakot has killed eight people and affected the lives of more than 11 million others in the Mainland provinces of Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi and Anhui, according to China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs. Economic losses are estimated at about 9.7 billion yuan, or $1.4 billion.

Taiwan was much harder hit by the storm, with 62 people killed to date.

Casualty numbers and damage estimates continue to climb as mudslides, rain and rescue efforts remain ongoing. Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture said the territory’s agriculture and fishery sectors have suffered losses of about 6.85 billion New Taiwan Dollars, or $209 million.

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