49 killed, 21 others missing as Typhoon Lekima leaves trail of destruction in China
BEIJING: Typhoon Lekima has left 49 dead and 21 missing in eastern Chinese provinces of Zhejiang, Shandong and Anhui, wreaking havoc there with strong gales and torrential rains.
By Monday morning, the death toll in Zhejiang Province has risen to 39 while nine others remained missing, said the Zhejiang provincial flood control headquarters.
The ninth and strongest typhoon of the year has affected 6.68 million residents in Zhejiang, among whom 1.26 million were evacuated. It damaged 234,000 hectares of crops, inflicting a direct economic loss of 24.22 billion yuan (about 3.4 billion U.S. dollars).
Lekima landed at around 1:45 a.m. Saturday in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang. It made a second landing at 8:50 p.m. Sunday on the coast of Qingdao in Shandong Province.
In Shandong, it has left five people dead and seven missing, affecting 1.66 million people and forcing the relocation of 183,800 as of Monday morning, said the provincial emergency management department.
Heavy rains and strong gales have damaged 175,400 hectares of crops and toppled 609 houses in Shandong, inflicting a direct economic loss of 1.48 billion yuan, it said.
Floodwater inundated 18,000 vegetable greenhouses in Shouguang, a major vegetable production base in China.
The average precipitation in the city of Weifang, which administers Shouguang, reached 217.5 mm between 6 a.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, the largest rainfall since the hydrologic record started in 1952, said the local flood control and drought relief headquarters.
In the neighboring Anhui Province, four people were killed and five others remained missing. The typhoon has affected more than 130,000 residents in the province and 20,000 people have been evacuated as flooding damaged houses, crops and roads and disrupted electricity and telecommunications.
As of 1 a.m. Monday, Lekima had damaged nearly 6,000 hectares of crops, toppled 364 houses and damaged 439 houses in Anhui, causing a direct economic loss of 437 million yuan, said the provincial emergency management department.
The typhoon also affected Liaoning Province as it moved northward. More than 106,000 residents have been relocated, 28 trains disrupted and all major tourist destinations closed.