30 dead after Typhoon Lekima sweeps through east China
A total of 30 people have died and 18 remain missing after super typhoon Lekima made landfall in eastern China's Zhejiang Province on Saturday, local authorities said on Sunday.
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 flooded waters swept people away.
Nearly 1.08 million people have been evacuated to safe places, and close to 5 million people in Zhejiang were affected, said the provincial flood control headquarters.
Lekima, the ninth typhoon and the strongest this year, landed around 1:45 a.m. Saturday in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang, packing winds of 187 kilometers per hour and bringing heavy rainstorms.
In Zhejiang, the typhoon damaged more than 173,000 hectares of crops and 34,000 houses. The direct economic loss amounts to 14.57 billion yuan (US$2.1 billion), the headquarters said. Rescue operations are underway.
On Saturday, heavy downpours flooded the 1,600-year-old town of Linhai, about one and half hour drive north from where the typhoon landed. 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.
As the typhoon swept through Shanghai, about 253,000 people in the city have been 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.
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.
Shandong air traffic management bureau said the typhoon will greatly affect traffic in airports of the area. A total of 47 flights have been adjusted.