BEIJING – China's southeast braced for more torrential rain on Saturday after Typhoon Saomai slammed into the region, killing 105 people and leaving another 190 missing, according to state media.
More than 20,000 soldiers and paramilitary police were mobilized for relief efforts after Saomai, the strongest storm to strike the country since at least 1949, blacked out cities and wrecked more than 50,000 homes.
Saomai weakened to a tropical depression on Friday but was expected over the weekend to drench a swath of China's south stretching from the coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian to the poor inland provinces of Jiangxi and Anhui.
Hardest-hit was Zhejiang, where the typhoon made landfall on Thursday, and the bulk of the deaths occurred in the city of Wenzhou, where at least 81 people were killed and 11 were missing, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
It said Wenzhou suffered $560 million in damage, including more than 18,000 flattened houses.
A landslide set off by heavy rains in Lishui, another city in Zhejiang, killed six people, Xinhua said.
Seventeen people died in neighboring Fujian province, where Saomai destroyed crops, shut down mines and factories, and razed tens of thousands of homes. Power was knocked out in the cities of Fuding, Xiapu, Zherong, Fu'an and Ningde, state media said.
The inland province of Jiangxi suffered one death in its capital.
Late Friday, the government announced it was allocating $21 million in disaster aid to regions hit by Saomai and other recent weather disasters.
Much of the area is still recovering fromTropical Storm Bilis, which killed more than 600 people last month, many of them in mountain villages and other inland areas.
Saomai, the Vietnamese name for the planet Venus, was the eighth major storm to hit China during an unusually violent typhoon season.
Saomai's winds gusted up to 170 mph as it battered the coast Thursday, Xinhua said. The weather bureau said Saomai was the most powerful typhoon since 1949, when they began keeping records.
Also Saturday, a flash flood triggered by heavy rains in north China killed at least seven people, Xinhua said.
The flood occurred Friday in the town of Balgutai in the Inner Mongolia region, where some 1,000 residents were relocated to safety, it said.