YANCHENG , China, June 23 (UPI) — Severe weather in eastern China churned up a tornado that killed nearly 100 people on Thursday and seriously injured hundreds more, officials said.
The twister struck in Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, on Thursday afternoon amid severe rain and thunderstorms. Officials said at least 78 people were killed by the tornado, according to early estimates, about 200 miles north of Shanghai.
Estimates from China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said more than 500 people were injured, 200 of whom were hospitalized in serious condition. The death toll is likely to rise, officials said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered all-out rescue efforts in the storm’s aftermath, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. News reports said it’s one of the worst natural disasters to hit Jiangsu province since 1966.
The storm destroyed many homes and trapped residents in wreckage, Xinhua reported.
Xi, who was in Uzbekistan when the twister struck, ordered the Chinese State Council to sent a working group to the disaster area to oversee relief work.