Back-to-back tornadoes claimed 12 people and wounded more than 300 others in central and eastern China, officials said Saturday.
Local authorities reported that eight people died in the inland city of Wuhan on Friday night, and four others perished in the town of Shengze, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east in Jiangsu province.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the first tornado hit Shengze around 7 p.m., causing damage to homes and businesses as well as knocking out electricity. In a social media post, the Suzhou city government, which governs the district, said 4 people had died and 149 others had minor injuries. On China’s east coast, Shengze is close to Shanghai.
Xinhua reported that another tornado struck Wuhan at 8:40 p.m. with winds of 86 kilometers per hour, damaging more than two dozen homes and causing a power failure impacting 26,600 households. At a media briefing on Saturday, Wuhan officials said 8 people were killed and 230 had been hospitalized.
According to the Hubei Daily newspaper, 28 homes in Wuhan collapsed, around 130 were destroyed, resulting in economic losses of 37 million yuan ($5.7 million). According to Xinhua, construction project sheds and two cranes were also destroyed, and electricity was knocked out due to downed power lines.
Staff removing metallic rubble at a warehouse in Shengze in the morning, and a crowd of rescuers digging for building debris in Wuhan after midnight Friday.
Tornadoes are very uncommon in China. A tornado claimed 6 people in the northeastern Liaoning province in July 2019, and another tornado killed eight people on the southern tourist resort of Hainan the next month.