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Tornado hits East China, kills 12

AT least 12 people in East China's Jiangsu and Anhui provinces were killed by a tornado yesterday and some 100 more were injured, Xinhua news agency reported today.

Five deaths were reported by Jiangsu's Gaoyou City and Lingtang Hui-nationality Town, which were smashed by a tornado at about 4:40pm yesterday.

Furious rainstorms damaged hundreds of residential houses and cut power and communication of the two areas from outside.

"I saw a truck swept into a river by the strong winds," said a witness government official from Tianshan Town in Gaoyou.

"Fortunately, no one was in the truck," the official surnamed Hao told Xinhua.

The tornado didn't move off until 5:15pm.

Tianchang City in Anhui Province suffered worse from the tornado 15 minutes later with more deaths and injuries reported.

The tornado hit three villages around the city, destroying more than 100 houses, Xinhua said. The bodies of seven victims were found in the rubble.

Thirty-five out of the 93 injured were in critical condition, doctors said. About 200 people had been evacuated.

The wind speed at the center of the tornado reached 100 kilometers an hour, according to Xinhua.

Local weather bureaus have warned of possible floods along the Huai River, which runs through the region. The upper reaches of the Huai have already reached critical levels.

Officers with the country's drought and flood control and prevention center have warned that China was entering the main flood season and must brace for surging waters along major rivers.

Provincial governments are carrying out a count of residents in towns and villages to make sure they will know if anyone has been buried by collapsed houses.


 

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