Typhoon Lekima kills 18 in China: state media

At least 18 people dead and 14 others missing in eastern province of Zhejiang after Lekima makes landfall, CCTV said.

    It's predicted that Lekima will move into Shandong province on Sunday [AFP]
    It's predicted that Lekima will move into Shandong province on Sunday [AFP]

    At least 18 people have been killed and another 14 missing in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, after Typhoon Lekima made landfall on Saturday, according to state broadcaster CCTV. 

    Local authorities said the typhoon downed thousands of trees and forced more than a million people from their homes.  

    The typhoon made landfall early on Saturday, first hitting Wenling city in Zheijiang before making its way north towards the densely populated city of Shanghai.

    It also triggered a landslide and floods in China's Yongjia County in Zhejiang, about 130km north of the coastal city of Wenzhou. The landslide blocked a river, causing a lake to form. That natural dam then burst, sending a deluge of water downstream.

    Typhoon Lekima 3
    Typhoon Lekima made its landfall on Saturday morning [NOAA/AFP]

    On Friday, China's weather bureau issued a code red alert, its highest, as the approaching storm tore across the East China Sea and the north of Taiwan, where one person was killed.

    On Saturday, the alert was downgraded to orange, the country's second highest.  

    Over a million evacuated

    High winds and heavy rains battered the financial hub of Shanghai, home to about 26.3 million, on Saturday afternoon.

    More than 250,000 residents in the city and 800,000 in Zhejiang province were evacuated due to the typhoon.

    Power blackouts affected about 2.72 million households in Zhejiang as strong wind and rain downed electricity transmission lines, state media reported.

    Across Zhejiang province, home to 6.2 million people, about 200 houses in six cities had collapsed, and 66,300 hectares of farmland had been destroyed, CCTV said.

    The typhoon caused transportation service across the region to grind to a halt, with thousands of flights cancelled on Saturday, including most flights in and out of Shanghai's two major airports, according to transportation authorities. 

    Lekima Photo 1
    Over a million people have been evacuated as Typhoon Lekima hit China [Aly Song/Reuters]

    Nearly 200 trains through the city of Jinan in Shandong province were also suspended until Monday, Xinhua reported.

    The storm had been gradually weakening through the day as it moved northward at 15km/h, Xinhua reported, citing the weather bureau.

    It was expected to reach Jiangsu province by the early hours of Sunday and veer over the Yellow Sea before continuing north and making landfall again in Shandong province, according to CCTV.

    Businesses in the path of the storm were shut on Saturday and the Ministry of Emergency Management warned of the potential risk of fire, explosions and toxic gas leaks at chemical parks and oil refineries.

    SOURCE: News agencies