SHANGHAI, China, AP
The most powerful typhoon to hit China in seven years roared inland on Friday after killing 115 people along the coast and mowing a swathe of destruction though farms, towns and fishing ports, state media reported.
Typhoon Rananim weakened to a tropical storm after crossing into landlocked Jiangxi province, where it brought heavy rain to China’s central lakes region, meteorologists said.
Sixteen other people were missing in Zhejiang province, just south of Shanghai, where the typhoon made landfall Thursday night with winds of more than 160 kph (100 mph), China Central Television reported.
At least 1,800 people were injured, 185 of them seriously, while 42,000 houses were destroyed and tens of thousands more damaged, various government reports said.
Television and newspaper pictures showed people caught in the open crouching low to avoid being blown over by gales and flying rain. In the city of Wenzhou, two grabbed at a canvas topped bicycle taxi that had been blown into the air.
CCTV showed uprooted trees, fallen billboards, swamped bridges, and a man trying to hold onto his bicycle but being dragged along the street as the bicycle was pulled by the roaring winds.
Massive waves pounded fishing ports, where cement blocks had been added to reinforce waterbreaks, while ferries and small boats were tied up at dock. Other boats were caught at sea, but there were no immediate reports of any lost.
Most of the deaths were caused by collapsing houses, said an official at the Zhejiang Anti-Flood Headquarters in the provincial capital of Hangzhou. “Other deaths were caused by falling electricity poles (and) people falling into rivers,” the official said. He wouldn’t give his name.