17 killed, 118 injured in south China hailstorm

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GUANGZHOU, April 18 (Xinhua) -- At least 17 people were killed and 118 injured in south China's Guangdong Province as of Monday after hailstones, cloudburst and strong wind ravaged the region, flood control authorities said.

Gales as strong as 45.5 meters per second, accompanied by hailstorm and lashing rain battered cities including Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing and Dongguan on Sunday, a spokesman with the province's flood control headquarters said.

The victims were mostly killed by walls and work sheds collapsed in strong wind, as well as objects that fell from buildings, he said.

As of late Sunday, the disasters have affected 506.7 hectares of farmland and caused about 50 million yuan (7.65 million U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The provincial government has dispatched a team to the disaster-affected areas to direct relief work, said the ministry.

Local governments in Guangdong have initiated emergency plans to rush the injured to hospital, provide aid to the elderly, and examine the conditions of endangered buildings.

Also in the southwestern province of Guizhou, hailstones pounded 10 counties on Friday and Saturday, disrupting the lives of 270,000 people and causing 75 million yuan in direct economic losses, local authorities said.

Editor: Zhang Xiang