The death toll from a typhoon in eastern China rose to 32 on Aug. 11, with 16 people missing, state broadcaster CCTV reported, as the country braced for more travel disruptions as the storm moved north up the coast.
Typhoon Lekima made landfall early on Aug. 10 in the eastern province of Zhejiang with winds gusting to 116 mph, causing travel chaos with thousands of flights canceled and rail operations suspended.
It has affected around 4.17 million people across 79 counties in 26 cities in southern China. About 140,000 houses saw varying degrees of damage.
In Zhejiang, many of the deaths occurred about 80 miles north of the coastal city of Wenzhou, where a natural dam collapsed in an area deluged with 6.3 inches of rain within three hours, causing a landslide that blocked river flow. Within 10 minutes of the landslide, the water level rose to around 32.8 feet and trapped 120 villagers. In Yongjia County, a landslide has claimed 22 lives and left 10 people missing.
The Ministry of Emergency Management said that more than a million people were evacuated in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces and the financial hub of Shanghai, due to the storm.
State media reports showed rescuers wading in waist-high waters to evacuate people from their homes.
Lekima, China’s ninth typhoon this year, is expected to make a second landfall in Shandong province, prompting more flight cancellations and the closure of some expressways.
It has already damaged more than 189,000 hectares (about 467,000 acres) of crops and 36,000 homes in Zhejiang, and provincial authorities estimated the economic losses to be around 16.6 billion yuan ($2.35 billion), the state news agency Xinhua said on Aug. 11.
Xinhua reported that Qingdao city in Shandong issued a red alert for heavy rain on Aug. 11 and shut all tourist destinations to the public, adding that 127 trains and all long-distance bus services were suspended.
More than 3,200 flights were canceled since Aug. 10, state broadcaster CCTV reported, although some suspensions on high-speed railway lines were lifted on Aug. 11.
The National Meteorological Center of CMA, a branch of China’s national weather service, has issued an orange alert in anticipation of the upcoming rainstorms in at least eight provinces as the typhoon sweeps northward.
Eva Fu contributed to this report.