Rescuers were searching last night for 59 police academy students missing after a landslide in East China triggered by Typhoon Longwang.
Following on from the deaths of three people in Fujian Province over the past two days as a result of the storm, the landslide happened in Minhou County of Fujian's provincial capital, Fuzhou, China Central Television reported.
Torrential rains brought by the typhoon caused the hillside to give way above the civilian buildings where the students were staying, sweeping them away.
President Hu Jintao yesterday made a phone call and asked for every effort to be made to find the missing.
Typhoon Longwang, which means dragon king in Chinese, raged across Taiwan on the weekend before moving on to Fujian.
About 537,000 people had been evacuated to safety, officials said, and 2.46 million people were affected.
Although downgraded to a tropical depression yesterday, Longwang had already damaged 60,000 hectares of crops, with 12,500 "completely damaged," Xinhua reported. Economic damage was estimated at 1.2 billion yuan (US$150 million).
Officials and residents of Fuzhou are cleaning up today as Longwang brought rain described as being on a scale of "once-a-century."
One resident, surnamed Hu, said he was confined to his 16th-floor apartment on Hualin Road, with no water or electricity.
"A nearby river flooded the road, and the water rose to a depth of 2 metres," he said. "The underground parking lot of my building is completely submerged."
Cars whose engines were stopped by water could be seen everywhere. Some drivers were forced to stay in their cars on Sunday night.
Downpours from the typhoon, the 19th to hit China this year, began at noon on Sunday in Fuzhou and lasted for 14 hours, dumping 111 millimetres, according to the provincial meteorological bureau.
The rain paralyzed Fuzhou's transport system. Pools of water on the main streets were about 70 centimetres deep.
The city imposed traffic control yesterday on more than a dozen main streets in the downtown area.
The meteorological bureau reported that Longwang first struck Weitou town, Jinjiang city, with winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour at its centre.
The previous typhoons to hit China's coastal areas this year caused 188 deaths and losses totalling 73.8 billion yuan (US$9 billion), according to official figures.
3 killed in Shaanxi flooding
In Shaanxi Province, heavy rains since September 24 caused flooding and landslides killing three and injuring one.
In Xixiang County, two students were swept away by floods.
By Sunday, the floods had toppled 890 houses and caused 660 million yuan (US$80.5 million) in economic losses, provincial officials said.
"About 17,000 people had to leave their homes, which were threatened by heavy rains, and more than 2,240 hectares of farmland were destroyed by flooding," said Tan Cewu, director of the Shaanxi Provincial Water Conservation Department and head of the province's anti-flood headquarters.
Source: China Daily