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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Typhoon Lekima Leaves 32 Dead and 5 Million Affected in China

BEIJING – Typhoon Lekima has left 32 dead, 16 missing, one million evacuees, five million affected people and losses of more than $2.2 billion in China.

Most of the deaths occurred in Yongjia County, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, where the storm, the most powerful to hit the country since 2014, touched down on Saturday.

Torrential rains caused a landslide that blocked the river near a reservoir, which caused the water level to rise by up to 10 meters in 10 minutes, sweeping through nearby towns.

As well as the deaths in Chin, a 64-year-old man was also killed in Taiwan when he fell from a tree while trying to prune the branches as a precaution against the typhoon.

Nearly 1.1 million people have been evacuated so far, and authorities estimate the number of people affected in Zhejiang is 5.35 million.

More than 21,000 soldiers have participated in rescue efforts, around 400 boats were deployed and evacuated more than 33,000 people.

Teams have repaired 247 kilometers of roads, cleaned 3.2 kilometers of rivers and transported 105 tons of humanitarian aid material, according to military sources cited by state news agency Xinhua.

In Zhejiang, one of the provinces historically most affected by typhoons, more than 180,000 hectares of crops and 34,000 houses have been damaged, causing direct economic losses of around $2.23 billion.

The city of Linhai, whose walls are a known tourist attraction in the country, was flooded on Saturday, forcing rescuers to evacuate residents and visitors with inflatable barges.

Most evacuations were carried out in Zhejiang, but in Shanghai, the country’s economic center, around 253,000 people were transferred to safe places by local authorities.

The central government announced last night a special fund of $4.2 million to help those affected by Lekima in Zhejiang.

The typhoon, the ninth registered this year in the Asian country, brought winds of up to 187 km/h which forced the cancellation of hundreds of ferries, flights and sections of railway lines.

It will continue heading north at a speed of about 15 kilometers per hour, gradually weakening along the way, according to China’s meteorological authorities.

The next place to be hit will be the Shandong Province, where it is expected to arrive later on Sunday.

Lekima is also expected to cause severe storms in the Anhui, Fujian and Jiangsu regions.

Strong winds have affected even the northeastern province of Liaoning, where the city of Dalian, one of the main ports of the country, has been forced to suspend all maritime services.

A red alert, the most serious of the four in the national emergency system, was previously issued before being lowered to the second level, orange.

Lekima went from being classified as a super typhoon to a typhoon, with winds of up to 144 km/h.

Shanghai Disneyland closed on Saturday for the first time since its opening in 2016, for weather reasons, local press reported.

The resort reopened its doors again on Sunday.


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