63 killed in China rains as Typhoon Soulik lashes coast
Beijing: Sixty-three people have been killed and 174 others are missing in heavy rains and landslides in China while over 500,000 people were evacuated as Typhoon Soulik lashed coastal areas in the east on Saturday.
The death toll from a landslide in southwestern Sichuan Province has risen to 43 after 25 more bodies were retrieved, local authorities said.
Rescuers had found 43 bodies from the landslide that took place on Wednesday in the village of Sanxi in Dujiangyan City, said Chen Yangjie, vice mayor of the city told media today.
Some 118 people across the city were missing or cannot immediately be reached.
Most of them are tourists, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Chen as saying.
The landslide, which buried 11 homes in the region that was struck by a devastating earthquake in 2008, is believed to have been triggered by severe rainstorms since Monday evening, state-run China Radio International reported adding that 174 people are missing in different areas of Sichuan.
Also, 23 people were killed in rainstorms that have battered the city of Yan`an in northwest China`s Shaanxi Province since July 7.
Fifteen people have been injured while four others have gone missing, the headquarters said, adding that the injured are being treated at local hospitals.
The risk of possible flooding or landslides is high.
Typhoon Soulik, meanwhile made landfall in eastern Fujian Province this afternoon, bringing heavy rain and wind, in the seventh typhoon to hit the Chinese mainland this year.
The National Meteorological Centre said the typhoon made landfall on the Huangqi Peninsula in Lianjiang County in the evening with wind speeds reaching 118 km per hour.
Waves as high as 10 meters have been hitting dams off the coast of Xiapu County in the city of Ningde.
Billboards have been shattered and trees have been uprooted by the strong winds.
Typhoon Soulik is currently moving northwest at 20 to 25 km per hour and is expected to enter neighbouring Jiangxi Province after midnight, Fujian weather station said.
The typhoon is expected to bring downpours in the central and northern parts of Fujian.
Local governments should be on high alert for possible floods and landslides, the station said.
Nearly 6 lakh people were evacuated before the typhoon struck and 5,500 soldiers have been dispatched to 18 counties to engage in relief efforts.
All maritime transportation to Taiwan has also been suspended along with operations in the ports of Fuzhou, Xiamen and Meizhou Bay, according to the provincial headquarters and 30,880 ships have been ordered back to port.
Public transportation in the city of Ningde, which is expected to be hit hard by the typhoon, has been suspended.
About 142 flights have been cancelled at the Changle Airport of Fuzhou, the provincial capital, since last night while 31 passenger trains that connect Wenzhou and Fuzhou, or Fuzhou and Xiamen, are suspended for fear of possible damage from the storm, said local rail officials.
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