Typhoon Lekima: 1 million people evacuated and 18 killed as 116mph storm set to batter Shanghai

14 people missing after storm triggers landslide

Maya Oppenheim
Sunday 11 August 2019 10:56
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Family saved in Ningbo City, China as Typhoon Lekima leaves villages flooded

More than a million people have been evacuated from their homes and at least 18 people have been killed as Typhoon Lekima struck China.

Another fourteen people were also missing after a landslide was triggered by the storm.

Hundreds of ferries and train services were shut down as Lekima hit the coast south of Shanghai in the early hours of Saturday – more than 3,000 flights have been cancelled.

The storm was initially categorised as a “super typhoon” earlier in the week but weakened before it made landfall in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang.

The typhoon, which had winds of 116mph, has caused over 200 homes to collapse and damaged another 3,200.

Dramatic footage showed those in the hardest-hit areas being rescued from fast-flowing waters which engulfed houses. Emergency crews worked to free people trapped in cars, and images showed the storm had brought down numerous trees.

Chinese state media said an estimated 2.7 million homes were without electricity after power lines were toppled by the high winds.

The typhoon is now slowly moving its way north through the Zhejiang province and is expected to hit Shanghai – China’s most populous city which is home to more than 25 million people.

While Shanghai evacuated some 250,000 residents, another 800,000 in the Zhejiang province were also forced to flee their homes.

China’s weather bureau issued a code red, the highest level alert, for Zhejiang province. This triggered authorities to prepare evacuations, suspend train, air and fire services – with businesses and schools in affected areas advised to shut up shop.

Some 4,900 fishing boats returned to ports in Zhejiang’s Taizhou city, according to state media.

More than 180 rescue teams, 36,000 firefighters and 8,400 fire engines were put on standby before Lekima’s landfall in Zhejiang province.

State media said the fatal landslide took place in Wenzhou after a barrier lake – or natural dam – formed, pooling water from the heavy rains before collapsing.

The storm struck several small Japanese islands on Friday before making its way across the East China Sea and skirting the north of Taiwan. The island called off classes and closed offices on Friday – with around 40,000 homes left without power.

Lekima was the fourth typhoon in the western Pacific this week – with Typhoon Wipha having brought fierce gales and rain to China last weekend.

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