China / Society

Relief effort begins as tornado death toll rises to 98

By XU WEI in Yancheng, Jiangsu,and PENG YINING in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-25 02:45

Relief effort begins as tornado death toll rises to 98

Family members of victims comfort each other on Friday, the day after a tornado hit Funing county in Yancheng, Jiangsu province. LAI XINLIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Emergency workers have mounted a massive relief operation as the death toll from a tornado in East China climbed to 98, with 846 people injured.

The tornado, which was accompanied by hailstorms and downpours, hit densely populated areas of Yancheng, Jiangsu province on Thursday. In its path of destruction, the tornado turned buildings to rubble, toppled trees and flipped vehicles onto their roofs.

More than 8,600 houses, two elementary schools and eight factory buildings were damaged or destroyed, according to the provincial government.

About 3,500 police officers and disaster relief workers were called in to assist with the rescue efforts and to help displaced residents.

Winds of up to 125 kilometers per hour destroyed houses in Funing county, one of the hardest-hit areas, and brought down power and communication lines.

On Friday afternoon in the county's Beichen village, where more than 10 people died, villagers sifted through fallen bricks and the pillars of their destroyed homes, many of which had their roofs torn off and walls brought down. Workers tried to clear roads blocked by fallen trees, downed power lines and even a container that was carried 2 kilometers by the tornado.

Liu Dingguo, a 52-year-old villager, was searching for family belongings with his daughter in the debris of his house. But all they found were broken household appliances.

"Everything is gone. My wife is gone," he said. "We haven't had time to give her a proper funeral yet."

Fu Ling, director of the rescue team in Beichen, said the search for survivors in the debris had been completed and cleanup was underway.

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