A total of 98 people were killed and 846 sustained injuries after severe storms swept through several towns in east China's Jiangsu Province on Thursday, June 23, 2016. 200 people are still in serious condition.
More than 8 600 houses, two elementary schools, and eight factory buildings were damaged in the counties of Funing and Sheyang, and parts of Yancheng City along the eastern coast of China.
In a press release, Yancheng City government, said downpours, hailstorm and a tornado battered parts of the city (population 7.1 million) at 14:30 CST (06:30 UTC). The tornado caused massive destruction and left at least 51 people dead.
"The damage is terrible, I have not seen anything like this in years," said Zhou Xiang, head of Jiangsu fire corps and director of the rescue headquarters.
"The sudden tornado caught people completely off guard, resulting in a large number of deaths. Most houses in the storm-hit area are low-rise brick homes, they were never built to withstand extremely powerful winds. Many deaths and injuries were caused by fallen power lines and pylons."
More than 1 300 police officers and 1 200 fire fighters have been called in for the rescue mission and providing help to displaced residents. At least 100 people were pulled out of the rubble, Zhou said.
The storm also destroyed a 40 000-square-meter solar panel factory, which is partly owned by the GCL System Integration Technology Co. Ltd., Xinhua reported.
"There are still hazardous chemicals, including ammonium gas and silane, at the factory. Currently, they have been contained and pose no risk to the public," Zhou added.
Featured image: Yancheng city destruction caused by a tornado on June 23, 2016.