Update-China Focus: Casualties rise after tornadoes tear through Wuhan, Suzhou

Source: Xinhua| 2021-05-15 22:50:18|Editor: huaxia

Aerial photo taken on May 15, 2021 shows the scene after a tornado in Caidian District of Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. Six people have been confirmed dead, and 218 others injured after a tornado on Friday night walloped Wuhan, government sources said. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

WUHAN, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in a tornado that hit Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei Province, on Friday, has risen to eight, while 230 others were injured, according to a press conference by the city government Saturday afternoon.

The tornado, packing winds of 23.9 meters per second, ripped through the Caidian District of Wuhan at 8:39 p.m. Friday, toppling some construction site sheds and snapping a large number of trees.

According to an investigation by the city, 3,568 people were affected by the disaster. Houses of 28 households collapsed, and those of 130 households were damaged.

A tower crane was bent to the ground at the site of a domestic waste incineration power generation plant, where a signal tower was also knocked down by the tornado. Workers' sheds at the construction site were damaged.

Li Shengchun, a 56-year-old construction worker who witnessed the tornado, said there were more than 60 workers in the three prefabricated houses when the storm tore them down.

"It became stormy and dark all of a sudden. I felt the house shook, and in a few seconds, the second floor collapsed to the ground," said Li.

By Saturday noon, more than 170 people injured in the tornado were being treated in hospitals in Wuhan.

According to the city's fire and rescue department, 178 rescuers helped by 33 fire engines, seven sniffer dogs and several life detectors were searching for trapped people.

The local power grid has sent staff to fix the glitches of power lines damaged in the tornado, and repair works are still going on.

The municipal government has urged an all-out effort to save lives, assess losses, and repair water, electricity, gas and communication facilities. The city has mobilized people to check the safety of public facilities, old residential areas, dilapidated buildings in rural areas and construction sites.

Meanwhile, a tornado wrecked havoc in Suzhou in east China's Jiangsu Province on Friday. The Suzhou municipal bureau of emergency management has verified four deaths and 19 others injured in Shengze Town. A total of 84 households and 17 companies sustained damage in the disaster, which also caused power outages, the bureau added.