Typhoon Wipha weakened as it slammed China with strong winds and torrential rains, officials said Thursday. At least seven people were reported killed as the storm destroyed thousands of homes and triggered landslides.
Wipha was downgraded from a typhoon to a tropical storm Wednesday after it hit land in southern Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Five people died in landslides, reports in state media said Thursday. News reports said two other deaths were blamed on the storm: a Shanghai man was electrocuted and a Taiwan construction worker died when scaffolding collapsed. Another three people were reported missing.
Weather photos showed Wipha spread over a large area centered on eastern China’s Shandong province Thursday. The storm was forecast to pass over the Yellow Sea toward the Korean peninsula.
$638 million in damage
A total of 2.7 million people were evacuated from coastal or flooded areas and unsafe housing in Shanghai and other areas affected by the storm, Xinhua said.
The storm destroyed thousands of houses, wrecked fish ponds and disrupted power to more than 100 communities, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and provincial officials reported.
Preliminary estimates put the damage at $638 million.
Shanghai, a city of 20 million, closed schools, ferries and other transport links following forecasts of torrential rains and strong winds. But the city suffered little damage and by Thursday children returned to school under clear skies.
Wipha is a woman’s name in Thai.
World Cup affected
The storm played havoc with sports events, as well as regional transport.
Organizers of the women’s World Cup rescheduled Wednesday’s Shanghai match between Norway and Ghana to Thursday and moved it to the neighboring city of Hangzhou. Three Wednesday games were rescheduled for Thursday, to allow them to be played simultaneously with other final group matches.