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Tornado in China’s Guangzhou weaves wide devastation; cleanup efforts initiated

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BEIJING, April 28: Aerial photos posted by Chinese state media on Sunday showed the wide devastation of a part of the southern city of Guangzhou after a tornado swept through the day before, killing five people, injuring dozens others and damaging over a hundred buildings.

As businesses and residents began cleaning debris, the images showed block upon block of devastation in the hardest hit areas with a few clusters of buildings standing amid the destruction, a truck overturned on its side and cars crushed by rubble. Some buildings had their sheet metal roofs torn off.

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The tornado, which knocked out power in the area, also injured 33 people on Saturday, officials said.

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province and a manufacturing hub near Hong Kong. The tornado which struck during an afternoon thunderstorm that also brought hail damaged 141 factory buildings, according to authorities.

They said no homes were destroyed, though a news website under the Southern Media Group reported that some had broken windows.

The tornado hit several villages in Guangzhou’s Baiyun district. In one, packing material known as “pearl cotton” hung from buildings and trees, a report on the Southern Media website said. It blew into the compound of a nearby furniture company, where workers took shelter in a private home after the metal roof was ripped off their building, the news website reported.

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Workers were rolling up the material to be carted away for disposal on Sunday.

The disaster hit one week after heavy rains and flooding killed at least four people in Guangdong province.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Guangzhou during an official visit to China earlier in the month. The city, formerly known as Canton, also recently held the Canton Fair, a major export and import exhibition that draws buyers from around the world.

In September, two tornadoes killed 10 people in Jiangsu province in eastern China. (AP)

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