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Typhoon Lekima deaths rise to 44 in eastern China

Lekima, China's ninth typhoon of 2019, has damaged more than 36,000 homes and 900,000 acres of crops. Total economic losses are estimated at $2.55 billion.
Image: Typhoon Lekima damage in Wenzhou, China
Floodwaters from Typhoon Lekima partly submerged vehicles in Dajing in Zhejiang province of China on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019.Reuters

BEIJING — The death toll from typhoon Lekima in eastern China rose to 44 people on Monday morning, according to official data, as the storm continued up the coast, racking up billions of dollars in economic losses and widely disrupting travel.

Twelve more people were recorded dead from the storm, seven from Zhejiang province and five from Shandong, and 16 people were missing, according to data from provincial emergency bureaus and state media.

The state broadcaster CCTV had put the death toll at 32 on Sunday.

Typhoon Lekima made landfall early Saturday in Zhejiang province, with winds gusting up to 115 mph. The center of the storm has since traveled north through Shandong and off the coast.

Many of the earlier deaths occurred when a natural dam collapsed in Zhejiang after a deluge of 6¼ inches of rain within three hours.

The Shandong Emergency Management Bureau said more than 180,000 people were evacuated in the province, adding to an earlier evacuation of about 1 million people in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, as well as the financial hub of Shanghai.

The latest update from Shandong brings the total estimated economic toll of the storm to 18 billion yuan, or about $2.55 billion, in China, including damage to 900,000 acres of crops and more than 36,000 homes. Shandong alone estimated the total economic impact on agriculture at 939 million yuan, or about $133 million.

Lekima is China's ninth typhoon this year. China's state broadcaster said Sunday that more than 3,200 flights had been canceled but that some suspensions on high-speed railway lines had been lifted.

The typhoon was expected to weaken as it headed northwest off the coast of Shandong into the ocean east of Beijing.