At least 78 people have been killed and hundreds more injured by extreme weather which suddenly swept through Yancheng city in Jiangsu province on Thursday afternoon.
State media reports that at around 2:30 p.m., a tornado, accompanied by lightning, torrential rain and hail struck the city and surrounding townships with terrible force for 20 minutes. Winds of up to 125 km per hour were reported, which battered buildings and scattered vehicles from the road.
Some terrifying and disturbing videos of the extreme weather are being shared around on Chinese social media:
51 People killed in Tornado in China's Jiangsu province. Number of casualties expected to rise. pic.twitter.com/cCBCKEnHCA
— Pascal Nufer (@chinacuckoo) June 23, 2016
— #eustorm (@EUStormMap) June 23, 2016
Pictures of the aftermath of the storm show clasped homes, overturned vehicles, snapped trees and even toppled electrical towers. By 8:30 p.m., 51 deaths had been reported as a result of the storm.
Currently, that total is up to 78, but will likely only climb higher with more than 500 injured, including 200 who are severely injured.
Teams of rescue workers have been dispatched to search for survivors. So far, 66 residents have been rescued from the disaster site and more than 600 have been evacuated.
This disaster follows a week of torrential rains in southern China that have displaced nearly 200,000 people and caused almost 3 billion yuan in damages. Chinese officials have blamed the extreme weather on El Niño.
[Images via Weibo]