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18 killed in southern China storms

world Updated: Apr 18, 2011 12:50 IST

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At least 18 people were killed and 155 injured in south China as hailstones, cloudburst and strong winds ravaged the region, the state media said on Monday.

Winds as strong as 164 km per hour, accompanied by hail and lashing rain, battered Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing and Dongguan cities in Guangdong Province on Sunday, a spokesman with the province's flood control headquarters said.

The storms have affected over 3,200 people so far, he said, adding at least 45 houses collapsed in the storms.

Most of the victims were killed when the strong winds brought down walls and other structures. Falling debris also claimed several lives, the Xinhua news agency reported.

As of Monday morning, the storms have swept over 1,087 hectares of farmland and caused about nearly 96 million yuan (USD 14.7 million) in direct economic losses, according to the provincial civil affairs department which dispatched a team to disaster-affected areas to direct relief work.

The local government in Guangdong has initiated emergency plans to move injured victims to hospitals, provide aid to elderly residents and examine damaged buildings to evaluate their condition.

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