Typhoon in eastern China causes landslide, killing 13 people

People holding umbrellas wade through floodwaters amid heavy rainfall on a street after Super Typhoon Lekima made landfall in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China, August 10, 2019. Reuters

BEIJING – Thirteen people were killed and 16 were missing in eastern China on Saturday in a landslide triggered by a major typhoon, which also caused hundreds of flight cancellations and the evacuation of more than 1 million people, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Typhoon Lekima made landfall early on Saturday in the eastern province of Zhejiang with maximum winds of 187 kms per hour, although it had weakened from its earlier designation as a “super” typhoon, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

China’s weather bureau on Saturday issued an orange alert, its second highest, after putting out a red alert on Friday, when the storm forced flight cancellations in Taiwan and shut markets and businesses on the island.

The deadly landslide occurred about 130 kms north of the coastal city of Wenzhou, when a natural dam collapsed, CCTV reported.

The storm was moving northward at 15 kph and was gradually weakening, Xinhua reported, citing the weather bureau.

High winds and heavy rains battered the financial hub of Shanghai on Saturday afternoon.

Some 625 flights at airports in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu were due to be cancelled, CCTV reported, citing the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Several dozen trains connecting Zhejiang with northern and central China had also been cancelled.

More than 250,000 residents in Shanghai and 800,000 in Zhejiang province had been evacuated due to the typhoon, and 2.72 million households in Zhejiang had power blackouts as strong winds and rains downed electricity transmission lines, state media reported.

Some 200 houses in 6 cities in Zhejiang had collapsed, and 66,300 hectares of farmland had been destroyed, CCTV said.

The typhoon also forced the closure of Shanghai Disneyland.

The storm was predicted to reach Jiangsu province by the early hours of Sunday and veer over the Yellow Sea before continuing north and making landfall again in Shandong province, CCTV said.

Coastal businesses in Zhejiang were shut and the Ministry of Emergency Management warned of potential risk of fire, explosions and toxic gas leaks at chemical parks and oil refineries.

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