Landslide slams into Chinese village after typhoon, 27 missing

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - A landslide slammed into a village in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on Wednesday, swallowing up dozens of houses and leaving 27 people missing, state media reported.

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Heavy typhoon rains caused the landslide to crash into Sucun village, said the official Xinhua news agency.

Last month, the official People’s Daily newspaper reported that Suichang county, where the landslide occurred, had in recent years prioritized landslide and flood defenses.

Critics say local governments, especially in the frequently hit coastal provinces in China’s east, misallocate funding or fail to spend enough on defenses against floods and other problems caused by heavy rain.

A mass of debris rolled down a lush mountain toward the small village, according to images posted by local state media on their official Weibo microblogs.

Earlier on Wednesday, China shut schools and canceled dozens of flights as Typhoon Megi made landfall in the southern province of Fujian on Wednesday with winds of close to 120 km per hour (75 mph), Xinhua said.

Megi, which has killed four people and injured more than 523 in Taiwan since roaring in from the Pacific, made landfall at 4:40 a.m. local time (2040 GMT Tuesday). Chinese authorities issued their third-highest severe weather warning in anticipation of the storm.

Xinhua said more than 120,000 people who work close to shore or at sea have been moved by Fujian authorities. The province’s 31,700 fishing boats have been recalled to port to avoid the high winds.

China Southern Airlines said it had canceled 24 flights beginning from Tuesday.

More than 14,700 people were evacuated in Taiwan, while millions lost power and hundreds of thousands of homes were without water.

Typhoons are common at this time of year, picking up strength as they cross warm Pacific waters and bringing fierce winds and rain when they reach land.

Large swathes of China have been inundated with rain and battered by typhoons over the past few months, killing hundreds of people.

Reporting by Brenda Goh and Paul Carsten; Additional Reporting by J.R. Wu in TAIPEI; Editing by Paul Tait