China Typhoon Death Toll Jumps to 295 as Bodies Pulled From Sea

The death toll from China's strongest typhoon in five decades jumped to 295 on Tuesday and was expected to climb higher as scores of bodies of fishermen and sailors were found at sea, a state news agency reported.

Some 59 bodies were found Monday in waters off Fuding, a port on the southeastern coast, raising the city's death toll in Typhoon Saomai to at least 178, with 94 people missing, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Saomai sank more than 1,000 ships and wrecked more than 50,000 houses when it slammed into China's southeast on Thursday with winds of up to 170 mph.

China has mobilized thousands of soldiers to help rebuild damaged roads, power lines and water supplies.

CountryWatch: China

Most of those killed in Fuding died "when the super strong typhoon broke the moorings on their ships which had sought shelter in the harbor," Xinhua said.

Fuding suffered at least $312 million in damage, mainly due to lost fishing boats and catches of fish, Xinhua said.

Parts of Fuding and five other cities in Fujian province suffered blackouts. More than 1.6 million people fled their homes in Fujian and the neighboring coastal province of Zhejiang.

The death toll stood at 206 in Fujian, 87 in Zhejiang and two in Jiangxi, an inland province that was hit by flooding and landslides as Saomai moved west across China.