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Typhoon Soudelor kills 14 in China: state media

Typhoon Soudelor

Beijing:  Typhoon Soudelor killed 14 people in eastern China and four are missing after parts of the country were hit by the heaviest rains in a century, state media reported today.

Twelve of the casualties were reported in and around Wenzhou city in the province of Zhejiang, where downpours caused mudslides and several houses collapsed yesterday night, Xinhua news agency said.

It added that in the neighbouring city of Lishui, two people were also killed.

Xinhua quoted local disaster relief officials as saying the dead and missing may have been washed away by floods or buried under ruined homes.

About 1.58 million people in the city were affected by the typhoon by Sunday afternoon, the agency said, estimating direct economic losses at 4 billion yuan (USD 644 million).

Nearby Wencheng county saw downpours of 645 millimetres (25.4 inches) in 24 hours — the heaviest in 100 years — after the typhoon made landfall on Saturday night, according to earlier Xinhua reports.

The storm had landed in Fujian province and initially cut power to more than three million homes there, according to the agency, but more than a third had electricity restored by Sunday morning.

Billed as the biggest typhoon of the year last week with winds of up to 230 kilometres (140 miles) an hour, Soudelor — named after a legendary Micronesian chief — has since weakened.

China’s National Meteorological Center forecast the typhoon would be downgraded to a tropical depression by Sunday night as it moved further inland.

Soudelor left six people dead in Taiwan, where it ripped up trees and triggered landslides, damaging electricity lines and knocking out power to a record four million households.

Almost half a million homes were still without power Sunday, Taiwan Power Co. said, as blocked roads hampered efforts to restore supplies in some areas.

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