44 dead, many missing as Lekima pounds China

Firefighters search for survivors in collapsed houses damaged by a landslide after Typhoon Lekima hit Shanzao village in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, on Aug 11, 2019.
Firefighters search for survivors in collapsed houses damaged by a landslide after Typhoon Lekima hit Shanzao village in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, on Aug 11, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • A monster storm that smashed its way up the eastern coast of China and forced more than a million residents to flee has killed 44 people, state media reported yesterday.

Footage on state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed fields and streets flooded by muddy water, submerged vehicles, scattered debris and trees blown over as strong winds and rain from Typhoon Lekima pounded cities along the seaboard.

At least 16 people were still missing as the storm moved further up the coast near Beijing.

The official Xinhua news agency said the toll had risen to 39 in Zhejiang province, where Lekima made landfall last Saturday, packing winds of nearly 190 kmh and pounding the coast with waves several metres in height.

At least 18 of those were killed in a landslide triggered by torrential downpours in Wenzhou, state media said.

More than a million people were evacuated from their homes ahead of the typhoon.

Lekima hit Shandong province later on Sunday, where the local emergency management department reported five dead and seven missing, as well as the relocation of more than 180,000 people and damage to 600 homes.

The typhoon has inflicted economic losses of more than 24.2 billion yuan (S$4.8 billion) in Zhejiang province alone, the authorities said.

Rescue workers were shown on CCTV using boats and rope pulleys to carry stranded residents from their homes over the weekend.

 
 

More than 3,200 flights have been cancelled due to the typhoon, the state broadcaster reported, as Beijing, Shanghai and other cities grounded planes.

In Shanghai, more than 90 tourist sites, including Disneyland, were closed ahead of the storm.

A total of 126,860 people in northeast China's Liaoning province have been relocated as Lekima approached, the local authorities said yesterday. Liaoning has issued an orange alert for Lekima, the second-highest level in China's four-level typhoon emergency response system.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2019, with the headline '44 dead, many missing as Lekima pounds China'. Print Edition | Subscribe