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September 24, 2017

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Death toll rises to 16 after Typhoon Hato batters China

BEIJING - The death toll from Typhoon Hato rose to 16 on Thursday after the storm slammed southern China, flooding streets, battering buildings and forcing people into shelters, the government and local media reported.

At least eight people died and more than 150 others were injured in the gambling hub of Macau, according to local media. Videos showed submerged cars and people wading through waters that reached their chests.

The city's famed casinos were running on backup generators.

Of those killed in Macau, one man was crushed by a wall brought down by strong winds. Another person died after falling off a building, and another was hit by a truck, health authorities reported. Two bodies were found early Thursday in a flooded underground car park.

Another eight people died in the southern province of Guangdong, said China's Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Authorities there evacuated almost 27,000 people to temporary shelters, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Almost two million households lost electricity, Xinhua said, but power was back for about half of them by late Wednesday.

The storm also hit Hong Kong, where at least 84 people were injured. Videos on social media showed flooded streets, uprooted trees and scaffolding swept away. Wind gusts reached speeds of almost 200 kilometres per hour, according to the city's weather authorities.

As the Asian financial centre came to a standstill, analysts estimate Hong Kong suffered economic losses of up to one billion dollars, the South China Morning Post reported.

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