Beijing, Aug 10 (IANS) At least 18 people were killed and one million others evacuated from their homes as typhoon Lekima, the ninth one to hit China this year, slammed into the east coast of the country on Saturday, causing extensive damage and disrupting transport.
According to Xinhua news agency, the death toll rose to 18 as five more bodies were found on Saturday following a typhoon-triggered barrier lake burst in China’s Zhejiang province.
At least 14 people were missing, said the agency. Over 200 buildings were destroyed and another 3,200 damaged, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.
The monster storm made landfall in the early hours in Wenling, a city in China’s Zhejiang province, packing winds of 187 km per hour and was expected to head up towards Shanghai, Xinhua news agency reported.
Yongjia County in Zhejiang province was the worst hit. The typhoon brought heavy rainstorms in the area and caused a landslide that blocked the rivers, raising the water level to a maximum of 10 metre within 10 minutes and trapping 120 villagers.
More than 700,000 people in the province were evacuated, 110,000 of whom were housed in shelters, while another 253,000 were moved to other safe areas in Shanghai.
The province shut down hundreds of ferries, along with flights and suspended sections of its railway lines.
The super typhoon also knocked out power and downed thousands of trees.
Overa 4,000 flights had been cancelled since Friday.
Lekima also forced Shanghai to suspend services on several of its metro lines, according to the local government’s official WeChat account.
Taiwanese airlines cancelled about 520 international and domestic flights, South China Morning Post reported citing local aviation authorities.
More heavy rain was forecast for the Shanghai area as well as the provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, with authorities warning of possible flash floods, mudslides and landslides.
China issued a red alert — the most severe in the country’s four-colour emergency warning system — as the storm approached on Friday, before downgrading the level to orange, the second level, as winds eased on Saturday morning.
For the first time, Shanghai’s Disneyland complex was closed on Saturday due to bad weather since it opened in 2016, local press reported.