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South China small businesses start to count cost of record rains

By Nicoco Chan

DONGGUAN, China (Reuters) - Shop owners in a town in China's southern manufacturing heartland tried to clean up the mess and started to count the cost of Typhoon Haikui on Saturday, as the lingering storm lumbered west after wreaking havoc.

Two days after making landfall, Haikui brought the heaviest rains since records began 140 years ago to Hong Kong with more than 200 mm (8 inches) falling in the territory, killing two people and injuring more than 140, state media reported.

Flooding in the neighbouring tech hub of Shenzhen knocked out subways and transport in the worst-hit district Luohu, although by Saturday the city had largely returned to normal.

In the town of Tangxia in the sprawling manufacturing city of Dongguan, storefronts flooded and streets became rivers where rescue teams in dinghies helped stranded citizens, images from state media showed.

Zhang Lu, 42, hosed down mud-caked crates while his partner scraped mud from the floor of their fruit shop.

"Everything got submerged, everything," Zhang said. "Even the display screens were all damaged, right? It's very serious."

He showed pictures of the shop front half submerged and said the waters reached the ceiling at the flood's peak. Zhang reckoned it would cost him over 200,000 yuan ($27,000) to replace his damaged things.

"I opened this store with borrowed money," he said. "Everything was funded through loans, and now I have nothing left."

A large pile of plastic packaging, rags and detritus was outside Huang Lizhong's leather shop as the 53-year-old pushed water to his door, saying the flood had been more severe than others in recent years.

Huang reckoned the flood damage would cost him 500,000 yuan.

Nearby, workers carried foliage onto trucks while pedestrians weaved around piles of detritus.

Short but heavy bursts of rainfall were expected to continue in southern Guangdong province as well as the neighbouring Guangxi region and the island of Hainan, the China Meteorological Administration said on Saturday.

($1 = 7.3430 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Nicoco Chan in Dongguan; Writing by David Kirton; Editing by William Mallard)