At least nine people have been killed in China as a result of Typhoon Wipha, Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.

The typhoon, which hit China Tuesday night, has also left three missing. Over two million people have been evacuated.

As China lacks a specialized emergency ministry to deal with natural disasters, mobilized units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and the police have been trying to cope with the task.

Wipha, which is the 13th typhoon of the northwest Pacific cyclone season, weakened to a tropical storm yesterday. The typhoon, with winds of up to 45m per second, initially hit China at 02:30 Wednesday (18:30 GMT Tuesday).

The damage from Wipha has been estimated at 6.62 billion yuan (US$880 million), Xinhua reported, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The deadliest typhoon in recent years was typhoon Winnie, which hit China in 1997, killing over 200 people.

On leaving China, Wipha will come close to Russia's Primorsky region on Thursday night, a local meteorology agency said.

It added that although Wipha was now a "common tropical depression," heavy rains could disrupt the region power supply lines, as well as communications and transportation systems.

Asian names for typhoons have been submitted for use by countries affected in the Asian Pacific area since 2000. When the list of 140 typhoons is exhausted, it reverts to the first name. The names of especially destructive or powerful typhoons are, however, removed from the list.

Wipha is a woman's name in Thai.