Tornado kills 1 in eastern China as country faces high temps
BEIJING (AP) — A tornado blew through 11 villages in a farming region of eastern China, damaging homes, killing at least one person and injuring 25 others, while swaths of the country face extreme heat.
The homes and property of more than 2,000 people were damaged when the twister struck Wednesday in Jiangsu province south of Beijing.
Total damage was estimated at around 65 million yuan ($9.6 million), the newspaper Global Times reported, citing local media.
Tornadoes are relatively rare in China, although 12 people were killed and more than 300 injured in Jiangsu and the central city of Wuhan by tornadoes last year. China’s most violent tornado in recent decades killed 98 and injured more than 800 in Jiangsu in 2016.
As with much of the northern hemisphere, parts of China have seen record-high temperatures this summer and unusually heavy rainfall is exacerbating seasonal flooding. Climate change is considered a factor in both the warmer temperatures and heavier rainfall, as well as more frequent extreme weather.
Temperatures as high as 43 Celsius (109 Fahrenheit) were forecast until the end of the month for a broad swath of China, from the far northwestern Xinjiang region bordering on Central Asia to the central cities of Changsha and Nanchang and the metropolis of Fuzhou on the southeast coast opposite Taiwan.
While no figures have been released on heat-related deaths, local governments were taking measures to provide relief for those without air conditioning or who work outdoors.
In the central city of Yichang, drivers parked air conditioned buses not in circulation during the middle of the day for construction workers and others to use to escape the heat, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Medications to treat heat stroke, along with water and other refreshments were also provided, Xinhua said.
“I come to the bus every day," construction worker Cai Kaijun was quoted as saying. “Thanks to the air conditioning, I feel refreshed after some much-needed rest.”