Residents gathered to see huge waves stirred up by strong wind as typhoon Soudelor drew near
At least nine people were killed and 18 others missing after Typhoon Nepartak battered China's coastal Fujian Province with heavy rain and strong winds that toppled homes and triggered landslides, government agencies said.
Fujian's water resources department said that more than 438,000 people had been relocated. Hundreds of flights and trains were canceled, while damaged power stations left swaths of the province without electricity.
It weakened into a strong tropical storm after making landfall in Fujian on Saturday, but continued to soak the region, where emergency workers scrambled to reach residents trapped on the upper floors of submerged buildings and collapsed homes.
China's National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs launched a level-4 emergency disaster relief response on Monday morning, and large amounts of relief materials are on their way to the typhoon-hit areas.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said late Sunday that six were dead and eight others were missing in Fujian, but did not give details. The storm moved on Sunday into neighboring Jiangxi Province, where 500 people have been evacuated, the ministry said.
Nepartak was the first typhoon of the season. It first struck Taiwan on Friday, killing two people and injuring 72 with sustained winds of about 118 mph and wind gusts of 145 mph.
The civil affairs ministry said on Monday that a total economic damage of 900 million yuan was reported following the typhoon, while 40,000 acres of crops were destroyed.
Meteorological authorities said that rainfalls are forecast to continue in Fujian and in provinces including Jiangxi and Zhejiang, bringing more risks to the already-weather battered area.
Unusually heavy rain has pounded southern China in recent months, triggering severe flooding along rivers, including the Yangtze. Meteorologists blame the floods on a particularly intense El Nino weather pattern that has resulted in up to a 50 percent increase in rainfall in certain areas.
The government said on Friday that 164 people have been killed by floods, hail and landslides since June 30, while 32 million people across 26 provinces have been affected.
Dramatic pictures have emerged of people pushing cars through waist-high water and a soccer stadium with rainwater filled to its upper rafters in Wuhan, a central Chinese city that has been particularly hard hit.