Typhoon Lekima Rips Through China Killing 44 And Leaving Billions In Damages

Typhoon Lekima
People walk in the rainstorm as typhoon Lekima approaches in Shanghai (Photo: Reuters / Aly Song)

Typhoon Lekima made landfall in east China's Zhejiang Province over the weekend, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. According to local media reports, the typhoon has so far resulted in the deaths of at least 44 people, with dozens still reportedly missing.

Majority of those who died during the storm were victims of landslides in Yongjia County. Heavy rains poured throughout the mountainous areas, resulting in major landslides that crushed some houses in nearby villages. The landslides also reportedly blocked a river in the area, resulting in a heavy flow of water that swept away some of the victims.

According to emergency officials, over 5 million people living in the Zhejiang province were affected by the floods that were caused by the typhoon. Around 1 million were fortunately evacuated prior to the typhoon making landfall.

In terms of physical damage, the provincial flood control headquarters revealed that over 173,000 hectares of crops were destroyed. The agency also reported that over 34,000 houses may have been irreversibly damaged by the floods and the heavy rain. It was estimated that the typhoon had caused a direct economic loss of around $2.1 billion.

The country's National Meteorological Center issued a warning on Sunday of a possible second landfall near Shangdong province. The agency warned residents living near the coastline of extremely strong winds and heavy rain.

Prior to hitting China, Typhoon Lekima was categorized as a "super" typhoon. Fortunately, the storm had apparently lost some of its strength prior to hitting land.

Despite losing some of its strength, the National Meteorological Center still issued its highest "red typhoon" alert to all of the areas in the storm's path. The alert essentially meant that all businesses and schools were advised to close down until the storm passes.

China's Ministry of Water Resources had dispatched emergency responders to affected provinces, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs was able to send out ample warnings to provinces in the storm's path. Farmers were also advised to immediately harvest their crops in light of the coming storm.

Typhoon Lekima is the fourth typhoon to hit the western Pacific just this week. Another typhoon, called Typhoon Krosa, is forming in the Pacific and is expected to hit Japan with winds of 165 kph by next week. The last major typhoon that hit the region was Super Typhoon Mangkhut. The massive storm hit China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, resulting in over 54 deaths and billions of dollars in damages. 

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