Typhoon Soudelor kills 12 in China

Thousands flee as heaviest rains in century trigger floods, outages

Towering waves cast up by raging winds in Wenling city in Zhejiang province as Typhoon Soudelor drew near the coast of China on Saturday.
Towering waves cast up by raging winds in Wenling city in Zhejiang province as Typhoon Soudelor drew near the coast of China on Saturday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BEIJING • Typhoon Soudelor killed 12 people in eastern China, and five are missing after parts of the country were ravaged by the heaviest rains in a century, state media reported yesterday.

The typhoon, named after a legendary Micronesian chief, also forced the authorities to cancel flights and evacuate more than 163,000 people yesterday. Over 530 flights were cancelled and 190 high-speed trains were suspended.

The casualties were reported in and around Wenzhou city in Zhejiang province, where downpours caused mudslides and several houses collapsed on Saturday night, Xinhua news agency reported.

It quoted local disaster relief officials as saying that the dead and missing might have been washed away by floods or buried under ruined homes.

About 1.36 million people in the city were affected by the typhoon, the agency said, estimating direct economic losses at 3.83 billion yuan (S$853 million).

Nearby Wencheng county saw downpours of 645mm in 24 hours - the heaviest in 100 years - after the typhoon made landfall on Saturday night, Xinhua said.

The storm landed in Fujian province and cut off power to over three million homes there, the agency said, but electricity had been restored to more than a third of the homes by yesterday morning.

Billed last week as the largest typhoon of the year, carrying winds of up to 230kmh, Soudelor has since weakened.

China's National Meteorological Centre forecast that it would be downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved further inland.

Soudelor left six people dead in Taiwan, where it ripped up trees and triggered landslides. Power lines were damaged and a record four million households lost their electrical supply.

Almost half a million homes were still without power yesterday, according to Taiwan Power, as blocked roads hampered efforts to restore supply in some areas.

Taiwan's death toll rose to six after an eight-year-old girl was found dead. She went missing last Thursday after being swept out to sea with her mother and twin sister.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2015, with the headline 'Typhoon Soudelor kills 12 in China'. Subscribe