Lekima toll rises to 48, 21 missing

The typhoon had left 8.97 million people impacted in the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Anhui, Fujian, Hebei, Liaoning and Jilin as well as the city of Shanghai.

Typhoon Lekima has left 48 dead and 21 missing in China, wreaking havoc with torrential rains and strong gales.

By yesterday morning, the death toll in Zhejiang Province had risen to 39 while nine others remained missing, according to 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 (US$3.4 billion).

Lekima landed in China at around 1:45am on Saturday in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang. It made a second landing at 8:50pm on Sunday on the coast of Qingdao in Shandong Province, where five people died and seven were missing. About 1.66 million people were affected, the provincial emergency management department said.

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 217.5mm between 6am on Saturday and 1pm on 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.

The typhoon also brought havoc to Liaoning Province as it moved northward, with the largest precipitation in the coastal city of Dalian reaching 309.3mm.

In the northeastern province, more than 106,000 residents had been relocated, 28 trains disrupted and all major tourist destinations closed.

A total of 126,860 people in Liaoning Province had been relocated, local authorities said yesterday. The cities of Jinzhou and Panjin in Liaoning were hit by floods as of 4pm yesterday, with 1,097 residents affected.

Currently, 208.1 hectares of crops have been affected and no casualties have been reported, according to the provincial emergency department.

China allocated 300 million yuan of central fiscal funds yesterday to help with rescue and relief work in three provinces affected by Typhoon Lekima.

A total of 150 million yuan was allocated to Zhejiang Province, following a 30-million-yuan relief fund previously given to the province.

The Ministry of Emergency Management and the Ministry of Finance allocated another 100 million yuan to Shandong Province and 50 million yuan to neighboring Jiangsu Province.

As of 4pm yesterday, the typhoon had left 8.97 million people impacted in the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Anhui, Fujian, Hebei, Liaoning and Jilin as well as the city of Shanghai, while some 1.71 million people were relocated, the ministry said.

Facing massive train and flight cancellations and delays and severe threats to people’s lives and property caused by Typhoon Lekima, China has made all-out efforts in relief works.

As strong gales and torrential rains brought by the typhoon pose safety risks to trains and trigger landslides, leaving railway lines buried and equipment damaged, China Railway Shanghai Group and China Railway Jinan Group launched a level I typhoon emergency response and suspended sections of typhoon-affected railway lines.

Starting from Sunday, parts of suspended trains in the Yangtze River Delta, provinces of Shandong and Jiangxi have resumed operations as the typhoon changed course from stricken areas and weakened.

Additional personnel and services were added to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport to aid passengers with ticket changes and refunds.

Aircraft, hangars and aircraft stands of airports affected by the typhoon were also inspected to guarantee the flights’ safety.

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