Soudelor typhoon death toll rises to 18 in China

Monday, 10 August,Beijing : The death toll from Super Typhoon Soudelor, which has lashed China with rainfall not seen in over a century and forced evacuation of more than 3.34 lakh people, rose to 18 today after four more deaths were reported.

Soudelor killed four persons and coerced authorities to evacuate at least 1.81 lakh people in east China’s Anhui province since it entered yesterday morning, authorities said.
More than 550,000 people and 19,600 hectares of crops in ten cities were affected by the typhoon.

Some 562 houses have collapsed and another 1,194 damaged, according to the provincial civil affairs department. The typhoon has left 14 people dead and four missing in neighbouring Zhejiang province, where over 1.58 lakh people were evacuated to safety. In Wenzhou, the city hit hardest by Soudelor, 12 people died while four were reported missing.

In the neighbouring city of Lishui, two persons died. All the 14 killed were either washed away by flash floods or buried under the debris of collapsed buildings or landslides, said provincial flood control authorities.

The typhoon brought heavy downpour to the regions. Precipitation in some counties reached 700 mm over the past two-and-a-half days, not recorded in up to 120 years. Several townships in Wenzhou and Lishui cities have been inundated, with water level rising four metres above the ground in some areas, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

“The rain pounded non-stop on Saturday night and when we woke up this morning, the car parked outside the home has almost been submerged,” said a resident surnamed Chen in the county of Pingyang in Wenzhou.

“We never expected the rain to be such heavy.” By afternoon yesterday, the typhoon hit 1.58 million people and forced 188,400 to relocate in Zhejiang. It toppled 223 houses, damaged 272 roads and 43,600 hectares of crops, inflicting a direct economic loss of 4 billion yuan (US $644 million).

Three airports in the province were also shut, with over 530 flights cancelled. The typhoon led power outage to nearly 785,000 homes, but 60 per cent of the services resumed by late evening yesterday. More than 50,000 rescuers have been dispatched to Wenzhou alone to help cope in the aftermath of the disaster.

Authorities have warned people against flash floods and landslides. After pounding Taiwan and leaving six people dead, Soudelor landed in Fujian Province and moved to neighbouring Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces.