Death toll in eastern China rises to 32, as typhoon moves north

Rescuers and paramilitary police officers searching for survivors in the rubble of damaged buildings after torrential rain caused by Typhoon Lekima in Wenzhou, China's eastern Zhejiang province, yesterday. The death toll rose to 32, with 16 people mi
Rescuers and paramilitary police officers searching for survivors in the rubble of damaged buildings after torrential rain caused by Typhoon Lekima in Wenzhou, China's eastern Zhejiang province, yesterday. The death toll rose to 32, with 16 people missing after the storm. Typhoon Lekima made landfall in Zhejiang on Saturday with winds gusting to 187kmh.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SHANGHAI • The death toll from a major typhoon in eastern China rose to 32 yesterday, with 16 people missing, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The country braced itself for more travel disruptions as the storm moved farther north up the coast. Typhoon Lekima made landfall early on Saturday in the eastern province of Zhejiang with winds gusting to 187kmh, causing travel chaos with thousands of flights cancelled and rail operations suspended.

The typhoon damaged more than 189,000ha of crops and 36,000 homes in Zhejiang, according to provincial authorities who estimated the economic losses at 16.6 billion yuan (S$3.29 billion), state news agency Xinhua said.

An estimated 3,200 flights were cancelled, state broadcaster CCTV reported, although some suspensions on high-speed railway lines were lifted yesterday.

Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines were among those that announced flight cancellations.

Shanghai and Hangzhou airports are restoring operations gradually, according to travel agency Ctrip's flight tracking data and the local government.

Taiwanese airlines cancelled about 520 international and domestic flights, according to local aviation authorities.

Emergency units are working to repair roads and water and electricity connections, Global Times, a tabloid published by the Communist Party's People's Daily, reported on its Weibo account.

Mainland China's key financial hub Shanghai had braced itself for Lekima after the typhoon ravaged Taiwan and affected Japan.

 
 
 

Government offices, schools and businesses, including financial markets, were shut across northern Taiwan last Friday. More than 50,000 homes lost power overnight last Thursday, though electricity was mostly restored by Friday morning.

Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Centre reported at least one death and four injuries in the wake of the storm.

At least four people were hurt in Okinawa, while flights and ferries across the southern Japanese islands experienced widespread disruptions, according to a report by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said Lekima had sustained wind speeds of 184kmh, with gusts of 227kmh on Friday morning. Mr Scott Hsieh, a senior meteorologist at CWB, said it was the strongest typhoon in the western Pacific this year.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2019, with the headline 'Death toll in eastern China rises to 32, as typhoon moves north'. Print Edition | Subscribe