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China typhoon toll reaches over 35

The death toll due to typhoon Lekima that has hit the provinces of Zhejiand and Shandong provinces of China's has increased more than 35, while over 20 others were reported missing, authorities said on Monday.
China typhoon toll reaches over 35

Lekima, the ninth typhoon and the strongest this year, made its first landfall on Saturday afternoon in the city of Wenling, Zhejiang, packing winds of 187 km per hour and bringing heavy rainstorms, Xinhua news agency reported.

It made a second landing in Shandong on Sunday night where it killed five people, while seven others were missing. Thirty-two victims were reported in Zhejiang, with a majority of them from Yongjia county, the authorities added.

In Zhejiang alone, more than 21,000 service personnel and militia members have been engaged in rescue and relief. They stacked sandbags, drained muddy water off the streets and rode on inflatable boats to evacuate residents who lived in the 1,600-year-old town of Linhai, where streets were completely submerged on Saturday.

Nearly 1.22 million people have been evacuated from their homes in the province, and close to 5 million people were affected, said the provincial flood control headquarters.

The typhoon damaged more than 189,000 hectares of crops and 36,000 houses, and the direct economic losses reached 16.6 billion yuan (about $2.3 billion), the office said.

In Shandong, the typhoon has inflicted losses in 79 county-level areas, affecting 1.66 million people and forcing the relocation of 183,800, said the provincial emergency management department.

Heavy rains and strong gales have damaged 175,400 hectares of crops and toppled 609 houses, inflicting a direct economic loss of 1.48 billion yuan ($211 million), it said.

The coastal city of Qingdao issued a red alert for heavy rain on Sunday. All tourist destinations have been closed to the public, while 127 trains and all long-distance bus service have been suspended.

Rescue and relief work was underway on Monday in both the affected provinces.

Lekima is expected to travel through Shandong and enter the Bohai Sea by Monday.

( With inputs from IANS )

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