98 killed and 800 injured as storm wreaks disaster in eastern China

98 killed and 800 injured as storm wreaks disaster in eastern China

A tornado and hailstorm have killed at least 98 people and injured nearly 800 in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.
The tornado is one of the most extreme weather events witnessed by China in recent decades, leaving a swathe of destruction with destroyed buildings, smashed trees and flipped vehicles on their roofs.

A resident sits in front of a destroyed house after a tornado in Funing, in Yancheng, in China's Jiangsu province on June 24, 2016. Survivors scrabbled through the rubble of their homes on June 24 after hurricane-force winds and a tornado left at least 98 dead in China, with hundreds more injured. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Whole villages were levelled and huge trees felled when winds of up to 125 kilometres per hour struck around Yancheng city.
Some 200 people were left critically injured during the storms and the worst tornado in half a century, which reduced buildings to rubble.
Photos of the scene showed dazed residents near the remains of houses surrounded by tangled telephone wires, splintered wood and toppled poles.
“It was like the end of the world,” said Xie Litian, 62, from Donggou township in Funing County, describing how all the other houses in his neighbourhood had been destroyed.

A man walks through the rubble of destroyed houses.
“I heard the gales and ran upstairs to shut the windows,” he said.
“I had hardly reached the top of the stairs when I heard a boom and saw the entire wall with the windows on it torn away.”
President Xi Jinping ordered “all-out rescue efforts” after what Xinhua said was one of the worst disasters ever to hit Jiangsu.
Citizens in Yancheng used social media to offer help to those affected, from medical assistance to using heavy lifting equipment for free.
Crane operator Xiang Shanfeng said he had pulled dozens of people from rubble during the day after posting his number on messaging service WeChat.
“The losses were astonishing,” Mr Xiang said.
Many parts of China have been lashed by torrential rains this week as summer rainstorms have been heavier than usual, causing damage across the country.

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