Death toll from typhoon in eastern China rises to 30 as storm moves north

A man rows an inflatable kayak carrying a boy on a flooded street after Typhoon Lekima hit Wenling, Zhejiang province, China August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The death toll from a major typhoon in eastern China rose to 30 on Sunday, with 18 people missing, state broadcaster CCTV reported, as the country braced for more travel disruptions as the storm moved further north up the coast.

Typhoon Lekima made landfall early on Saturday in the eastern province of Zhejiang with winds gusting to 187 km (116 miles) per hour, causing travel chaos with thousands of flights canceled and rail operations suspended.

The typhoon damaged more than 173,000 hectares of crops and 34,000 homes in Zhejiang, provincial authorities said in estimating the economic losses at 14.57 billion yuan ($2 billion), the state news agency Xinhua said.

Lekima, China’s ninth typhoon of this year, is expected to make a second landing along the coastline in Shandong province, prompting more flight cancellations and the closure of some expressways, Xinhua and state broadcaster CCTV said.

In Zhejiang, many of the deaths occurred about 130 km north of the coastal city of Wenzhou, where a natural dam collapsed in an area deluged with 160 mm (6.3 inches) of rain within three hours, causing a landslide, Xinhua reported.

State media reports showed rescuers wading in waist-high waters to evacuate people from their homes, while the Ministry of Emergency Management said that more than one million people in the financial hub of Shanghai, as well as Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, have been evacuated due to the typhoon.

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

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Darren Schuettler & Kim Coghill

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