Typhoon Lekima leaves 32 dead in eastern China

August 12, 2019 09:22
Cars are partially submerged in floodwaters after Typhoon Lekima hit Dajing town in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, in China on August 10. Photo: Zhejiang Daily Press Group via Reuters

At least 32 people have died after Typhoon Lekima battered eastern China over the weekend, with the storm now moving further north up the coast, Reuters reports, citing Chinese state media.

Lekima made landfall early on Saturday in Zhejiang province with winds gusting to 187 kilometers per hour, causing travel chaos with thousands of flights canceled and rail operations suspended.

In Zhejiang, many of the deaths occurred about 130 km north of the coastal city of Wenzhou, where a natural dam collapsed in an area deluged with 160 mm of rain within three hours, causing a landslide.

According to China's Ministry of Emergency Management, more than one million people had been evacuated in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces and the financial hub of Shanghai due to the typhoon.

State media reports showed rescuers wading in waist-high waters to evacuate people from their homes.

Lekima, China’s ninth typhoon this year, is expected to make a second landing along the coastline in Shandong province, prompting more flight cancellations and the closure of some expressways.

It has already damaged more than 189,000 hectares of crops and 36,000 homes in Zhejiang, provincial authorities said, estimating the economic losses at 16.6 billion yuan (US$2.35 billion).

Over 3,200 flights were canceled since Saturday, state broadcaster CCTV reported, although some suspensions on high-speed railway lines were lifted on Sunday.

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