Rescue workers help residents after Typhoon Lekima hit the city of Linhai

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. This is the third-largest typhoon in China’s history.

Typhoon Lekima triggered widespread blackouts, and evacuations of millions of people across major cities.

Thousands of flights were cancelled in eastern China, according to the country’s aviation regulator, with most flights into and out of Shanghai’s two major airports cancelled on Saturday afternoon, their websites showed.

Nearly 200 hundred trains through the city of Jinan in Shandong province had been suspended until Monday, Xinhua reported.

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

Typhoon Lekima made landfall early on Saturday in China’s Zhejiang province, with winds gusting up to 187 kmh. 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 160 mm (6.2 inches) of rain within three hours.

An estimated 200 homes in the Zhejiang province also collapsed due to the storm.

Around 2.7 million of the provinces households endured blackouts as the storm ravaged electricity lines.

The Shandong Emergency Management Bureau said more than 180,000 people were evacuated in the province, adding to an earlier evacuation of roughly 1 million people in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces as well as more than 250,000 residents in the financial hub Shanghai.

The latest update from Shandong brings the total estimated economic toll of the storm to 18 billion yuan ($2.55 billion) in China, including damage to 364,000 hectares of crops and more than 36,000 homes. Shandong alone estimated the total economic impact on agriculture was 939 million yuan.

Qingdao, a popular tourist hub in eastern Shandong, issued a red alert on Sunday, closing all its tourists sites and suspending 127 trains and all long-distance bus services, according to official media.

Typhoon Lekima resulted in widespread blackouts and some damaged property.

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

The storm battered the coast south of Shanghai, the nation’s financial capital, which is home to more than 20 million people.

As of Sunday evening, more than 6.5 million people were impacted by the storm, according to state media.

The typhoon was expected to weaken as it heads northwest off the coast of Shandong into the ocean east of China’s capital, Beijing.

Typhoon Lekima started out as a tropical depression on August 2, then quickly picked up speed as it headed northwest.

The tropical depression (essentially a group of thunderstorms) originated in the Philippine Sea. Five days later, on August 7, it morphed into a super typhoon, with a wind speed of at least 150 miles per hour.

The storm forced flight cancellations in Taiwan and shut markets and businesses on the island.

Philippines: 17,000 households

Before making its way to China, the storm passed through the Philippines, where it caused flooding in more than 400 areas.

The Red Cross estimated that more than 17,000 households in the Philippines were affected by the disaster.


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