Tornado kills 14, injures 146 in eastern China

BEIJING Wed Jul 4, 2007 5:13am EDT

1 of 4. Local residents sit on the debris of houses which were destroyed when a tornado ripped through, in the Qinlan County of Tianchang, east China's Anhui province, July 4, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Jianan Yu

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BEIJING (Reuters) - A tornado swept across eastern China, killing 14 people and injuring 146, state media reported on Wednesday, the latest casualties from bad weather that has devastated parts of the country this summer.

The tornado hit three villages around Tianchang in Anhui province on Tuesday, destroying more than 100 houses, the official Xinhua news agency said. The bodies of seven people had been recovered from the rubble.

State television showed footage of uprooted trees, toppled electric poles and a truck blown into a river.

Of the 93 injured, 35 were in serious condition, Xinhua said. A further 200 people had been evacuated.

Seven people were killed in Gaoyou city in neighboring Jiangsu province, the agency said, adding that 53 were injured.

"Winds and heavy rain cut off power and telecommunications, ripped off rooftops and uprooted thousands of trees," a Gaoyou government official was quoted as saying.

The winds at the centre of the tornado reached speeds of 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph), Xinhua said.

Forecasters were now warning of possible floods along the Huai river, which runs through the region. The upper reaches of the Huai had already reached critical levels.

Up to Monday, 18 provinces and major cities across China had been hit by floods and accompanying disasters, with a total of 233 people killed and 118,500 houses destroyed, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on its Web site (sfdh.chinawater.com.cn).

The office warned that China was entering the main flood season and must brace for surging waters along major rivers.

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