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Typhoon Winnie kills 140 in east China

Rain umbrellas August 21, 1997
Web posted at: 4:09 p.m. EDT (2009 GMT)

BEIJING (CNN) -- High winds and torrential rains from one of the worst typhoons to batter China in a decade have caused the deaths of at least 140 people, mostly in homes that collapsed in the storm, officials said Thursday.

About 3,000 people have been injured since early Monday, when Typhoon Winnie slammed into China's eastern coastal province of Zhejiang.

The storm wreaked havoc across the province for 11 hours, destroying tens of thousands of homes, flooding fields, damaging dams and sea dikes, and disrupting transportation.

The dead and injured were residents of low-lying coastal areas, according to a preliminary investigation, an official of the provincial government said. Thousands of people have been left homeless.

Flood car

Some people died from electric shocks from wires blown down by high winds, the official said. Many of the injured were hit by flying debris; others were hurt when they were blown off roads, the official said.

The storm damaged 1.6 million acres of farmland in Zhejiang province alone, causing economic losses of $2.2 billion, the official said.

In Taiwan, the typhoon killed 37 people and left six missing when apartment buildings collapsed under the storm's fury. And in the Philippines, flooding spawned by the storm killed 16 people and forced 60,000 to abandon their homes.

The death toll would have been higher if authorities in Zhejiang, neighboring Jiangsu province and the city of Shanghai had not evacuated 790,000 people from coastal towns and villages in the path of the typhoon, authorities said.

Copyright 1997 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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