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China typhoon toll reaches 30

Rescuers transfer the flood-stranded people in Wenling, east China's Zhejiang Province

Beijing, Aug 11 (UITV/IANS)- The death toll due to typhoon Lekima that made landfall in China's Zhejiang province has increased to 30, while 18 others were reported missing, authorities said on Sunday.

Most of the deaths occurred in Yongjia county where torrential downpours caused a landslide that blocked a river. The barrier lake burst and flooded waters swept people away, reports Xinhua news agency.

Nearly 1.08 million people have been evacuated to safe places, and close to 5 million people in Zhejiang were affected, said the provincial flood control headquarters.

Lekima, the ninth typhoon and the strongest this year, made landfall on Saturday afternoon in the city of Wenling, Zhejiang, packing winds of 187 km per hour and bringing heavy rainstorms.

In Zhejiang, the typhoon damaged more than 173,000 hectares of crops and 34,000 houses. The direct economic loss amounts to 14.57 billion yuan ($2 billion).

Rescue operations were underway.

On Saturday, heavy downpours flooded the 1,600-year-old town of Linhai, about one and half hour drive north from where the typhoon landed. The town was completely inundated, and rescue workers had to navigate on inflatable boats and evacuate residents.

Floodwater started to retreat on Sunday, rescuers said.

Over 16 civilian rescue teams have volunteered to rescue stranded residents in Linhai.

As the typhoon swept through Shanghai, about 253,000 people in the city have been evacuated to safe places, Shanghai flood control authorities said.

On Sunday, Lekima was moving northwards and will churn up the east coast of Shandong province.

It is expected to make a second landing along the coastline in Shandong late Sunday, bringing strong wind and heavy downpours, the National Meteorological Centre warned.