Typhoon Lekima leaves 33 dead and 16 missing in China

Rescuers search for victims of a landslide triggered by Typhoon Lekima in eastern China Credit: Chinatopix/AP

A powerful typhoon left at least 33 people dead in south-eastern China, after a landslide backed up a river that broke through debris and inundated homes.

Another 16 people remained missing in Zhejiang province, state media’s Xinhua News Agency said, where 32 people had died.

One more death was reported in the neighbouring Anhui province.

More than one million people were evacuated before the storm struck, including 253,000 in Shanghai.

Typhoon Lekima made landfall at 1.45am on Saturday in Wenling city where it triggered a landslip and floods, about 190 miles south of Shanghai, the China Meteorological Administration said.

Most of the deaths occurred in Yongjia county on the outskirts of Wenzhou, a major port city.

The river blocked by a landslide rose to a level of 33 feet within 10 minutes, trapping 120 villagers.

Shanghai Disneyland was closed, as were some popular tourist areas along the riverfront in the city’s historic Bund district.

Buildings have suffered damage in the typhoon. Credit: AP

Footage on state broadcaster CCTV showed buildings had been smashed by the raging waters and workers using backhoes to clean up the debris.

To the north, parts of the city of Linhai remained flooded on Sunday, with water reaching up to the top of the first floor of buildings, leaving only treetops sticking out.

CCTV showed people being rescued with life vests and boats in nearby Xianju county.

“Of course, it’s a little disappointing, but it’s because of the weather so we can all understand, right. This is a natural disaster, isn’t it?” said Wang Chunguang, who was visiting from Jiangsu province north of Shanghai.

China Central Television reported 3,023 airline flights in cities including Shanghai and Hangzhou as well as some train services were cancelled.

Authorities in Shanghai also shut down the high-speed magnetic levitation train to Pudong International Airport.

Lekima, downgraded to a tropical storm, was heading slowly northward and was expected to dump heavy rain on China’s north-east in the coming days, as it moves up the Pacific Coast.