BEIJING (Web Desk) – At least 100 people were killed while over 800 were injured by a tornado and hailstorm in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, according to state media.
Accompanied by torrential rain, the tornado struck the outskirts of Yancheng city on Thursday afternoon, the BBC reported.
Counties on the city’s outskirts saw wind speeds of up to 125km/h (78 mph).
The search for survivors in the debris has now been completed and a clean-up of the city is still under way, the head of the provincial fire corps told state media on Friday.
President Xi Jinping ordered “all-out rescue efforts” after what the Xinhua news agency said was one of the worst disasters ever to hit Jiangsu.
It was also the worst tornado to hit China in half a century, it said.
On Friday, rescuers were carrying injured villagers into ambulances and delivering food and water to others, said Xinhua.
Heavy rain and the possibility of more hailstorms and tornadoes further complicated rescue efforts. More than 1,300 police officers were mobilized in the rescue operations, while tent and other emergency supplies were being sent from Beijing.
Many parts of China have been hit by torrential rains this week. Floods in the south killed 22 people earlier this week and displaced nearly 200,000, state media said.
The southern part of China is hit hard every year during the monsoon season, which runs from May to July. But this year’s rainy season has been particularly devastating, with water levels in some major rivers exceeding those in 1998, when disastrous floods affected 180 million people, according to state media.
Direct economic losses from the floods are estimated to be 2.7bn yuan ($410m).
Vice-Premier Wang Yang said China faced volatile weather conditions as a result of the influence of El Nino on regional weather patterns.