by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 14, 2016
A tropical storm in China has left 69 people dead, reports said Thursday, after it lashed Taiwan with typhoon-grade winds and rain.
Super Typhoon Nepartak brought chaos to Taiwan last week, forcing more than 15,000 people to flee their homes as part of the island saw its strongest winds in over a century.
It had weakened to a tropical storm by the time it made landfall in the eastern province of Fujian on Saturday, but still wreaked havoc, with pictures showing cars upended, buildings ripped apart and towns left wallowing in a thick sludge of brown mud.
By Thursday more than half a million had been forced to evacuate and around 8,300 homes destroyed, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Later in the day Xinhua said 69 people in Fujian had been killed, up from an earlier toll of 21, with six missing.
Direct economic losses, it said, had reached 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), adding that the typhoon had destroyed 19,510 hectares of crops and forced 233 factories to suspend production.
Nepartak killed three people in Taiwan and injured more than 300, according to the island's central emergency operation centre.
Xinhua said in a separate report that in incidents not necessarily directly related to the tropical storm, floods across China had left 237 dead and 93 missing as of Wednesday.
It did not specify the time period within which the fatalities occurred.
Flooding is common during the summer monsoon season in southern China, but rainfall has been particularly heavy this year and many areas have recently been lashed by torrential rains.
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