China Tornado Kills 98, Injures 800
The death toll in eastern China skyrocketed to 98 after a powerful tornado and severe storms hit a densely populated area of farms and factories on Thursday. The tornado hit near the city of Yancheng in Jiangsu province, about 500 miles south of Beijing. Some 800 people were also injured.
Teacher Guo Haimei said the ferocious wind, blacked with dust and debris, seemed to descend out of nowhere onto her kindergarten and its 120 pupils.
"I was very scared. I had no idea what was happening," said Guo. "When I tried to close the door, my hand was injured by the wind pushing it back."
Guo and her mostly 6-year-old pupils were among the lucky ones. Although the school was heavily damaged, just seven students were injured, two of them seriously.
One day after the storm, rescuers on Friday continued searching for survivors in this densely populated area on the outskirts of the major city of Yancheng in Jiangsu province.
The twister was one of the most extreme weather events witnessed by China in recent years, leaving a swath of destruction with destroyed buildings, smashed trees and flipped vehicles on their roofs. A sprawling solar panel factory was shredded, forcing fire crews to secure toxic materials before they leaked into neighboring waterways.
As the death toll climbed to 98 on Friday, doctors said most of the 800 injured had broken bones and deep lacerations, especially on the head. Medical crews had been rushed to the area, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of Beijing.
Labels: Natural Disasters