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Huge waves beat against the sea shore as Typhoon Lekima approaches Shitang in the southeast of Zhejiang province. Photo: Xinhua

At least 13 dead after Super Typhoon Lekima brings chaos to east coast of China

  • Sixteen missing and more than 750,000 people displaced after storm makes landfall in Zhejiang province and heads north towards Shanghai
  • Thousands of flights grounded and high-speed rail and metro services disrupted amid wind speeds of up to 187 kilometres per hour

At least 13 people died after Super Typhoon Lekima slammed into the east coast of China on Saturday morning, causing extensive damage and disrupting transport.

At least 16 others were still missing while over 200 buildings were destroyed and another 3,200 damaged, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.

The super typhoon brought torrential rain and heavy winds that knocked out power, downed thousands of trees and displaced 752,000 people.

The monster storm made landfall in the early hours in Wenling, a city in the southeast of Zhejiang province, packing winds of 187 kilometres per hour (116 miles per hour), and was expected to head up the east coast towards Shanghai, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

Residents of Ningbo city in Zhejiang wade through floodwaters. Photo: Reuters

Over 4,000 flights have been cancelled since Friday.

By 1pm on Saturday, Shanghai Pudong airport said 1,231 departing flights had been cancelled while another 179 had been delayed.

A total of incoming 718 flights to the airport had been cancelled and another 19 delayed, Shanghai-based news portal reported.

Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines were among those that announced cancellations, while high-speed rail services were affected in multiple cities, according to local media.

Workers remove items from a collapsed temporary structure in Wenling city. Photo: Chinatopix

Lekima also forced Shanghai to suspend services on several of its metro lines, according to the local government’s official WeChat account.

Taiwanese airlines had cancelled about 520 international and domestic flights, according to local aviation authorities.

More heavy rain was forecast for the Shanghai area as well as the eastern provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, with authorities warning of possible flash floods, mudslides and landslides caused by the downpours.

China issued a red alert as the storm approached on Friday, before downgrading the level to orange as winds eased on Saturday morning.

The typhoon caused extensive disruption to roads, railways and flights. Photo: Xinhua

The storm had earlier swept past the northern tip of Taiwan on Friday, where nine people were injured, thousands of homes lost power temporarily and more than 500 flights were cancelled.

At least four people were hurt in Okinawa, while flights and ferries across the southern Japanese islands experienced widespread disruptions, according to a report by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Last September, Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into mainland China where authorities evacuated more than two million people, after it left a trail of destruction in Hong Kong and Macau and killed at least 59 people in the northern Philippines.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Shanghai in eye of storm