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 187km/h, causing travel chaos with thousands of flights cancelled and rail operations suspended.
The typhoon damaged more than 173,000ha of crops and 34,000 homes in Zhejiang, provincial authorities said in estimating the economic losses at 14.57 billion yuan ((US$8.37 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 130km north of the coastal city of Wenzhou, where a natural dam collapsed in an area deluged with 160mm 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 cancelled, state broadcaster CCTV reported, although some suspensions on high-speed railway lines were lifted on Sunday.