Typhoon Lekima death toll rises to 33 in China

Updated: Aug 12, 2019, 08:48 IST | Agencies

The natural disaster has also caused economic losses of over 15.8 billion yuan

Rescuers and paramilitary police officers search in the rubble of damaged buildings after torrential rain caused by Typhoon Lekima, at Yongjia, in Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province. Pics/AFP
Rescuers and paramilitary police officers search in the rubble of damaged buildings after torrential rain caused by Typhoon Lekima, at Yongjia, in Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province. Pics/AFP

Shanghai: Thirty-three people were killed and 16 others were missing after super typhoon Lekima made landfall in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, leaving a trail of destruction, local authorities said on Sunday. Lekima, the ninth typhoon and the strongest this year, hit Wenling city on Saturday afternoon, packing winds of 187 kilometers per hour and bringing heavy rainstorms. Most of the deaths occurred in Yongjia County, administered by Wenzhou City, where torrential downpours caused a landslide that blocked a river.

The barrier lake burst and flood waters swept people away. Local media reported 33 people were killed and 16 remained missing. According to the provincial flood control headquarters, nearly 1.08 million people have been evacuated to safe places, and close to 5 million people in Zhejiang were affected, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. In Zhejiang, the typhoon damaged more than 173,000 hectares of crops and 34,000 houses. The direct economic loss amounted to 14.57 billion yuan (about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars), the headquarters said. Rescue operations are underway. On Saturday, heavy downpours flooded the 1,600-year-old town of Linhai, which is about an one-and-half hour drive north from where the typhoon hit.

The town was completely inundated, and rescue workers had to navigate on inflatable boats and evacuate residents. Floodwater started to retreat on Sunday, rescuers said. Over 16 civilian rescue teams have volunteered to rescue stranded residents in Linhai, local authorities said. With the typhoon sweeping through Shanghai, about 253,000 people in the city had to be evacuated to safe places, Shanghai flood control authorities said. On Sunday, Lekima was moving northwards and will churn up the east coast of Shandong Province, officials said. It is expected to make a second landing along the coastline in Shandong late Sunday, bringing strong wind and heavy downpours, the National Meteorological Center warned. Around 3,200 flights have been cancelled due to the typhoon, state broadcaster CCTV has reported.

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