Tornado, hailstorms kill 78 people in eastern China, state media says

At least 78 people died and more than 200 were injured Thursday in severe weather that hit eastern China, state media reported.

Torrential rains, hailstorms and a tornado battered parts of Jiangsu province, toppling houses and sweeping cars off the roads, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing local officials.

Power outages were reported and several businesses were flattened by strong winds, with gusts recorded in the province's Funing County at up to 125 kilometres per hour.

A 40,000-square-metre factory that stored hazardous chemicals collapsed. Firefighters rescued seven people and evacuated 300 others from the building, the agency reported.

Chinese disaster relief authorities activated their emergency response. Thousands of tents and folding beds are being sent to the region, state media said.

Video from the region showed residents, some of them visibly injured, walking through mud and rubble.

China has been hit by heavy downpours since the weekend. On Sunday, Beijing issued a national yellow alert for the extreme weather conditions that killed at least 22 people and left more than a dozen missing.

China uses a four-tier, colour-coded system for inclement weather, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Last update: Thu, 23/06/2016 - 18:44

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