Locals allege tornado in Tongzhou killed two

By Deng Jingyin Source:Global Times Published: 2012-7-23 1:50:03


A collapsed building at Zhangfeng Lu, Tongzhou district Sunday. Photo: Deng Jingyin/GT
A collapsed building at Zhangfeng Lu, Tongzhou district Sunday. Photo: Deng Jingyin/GT

Rescue and restoration efforts were on the way Sunday in Tongzhou district, after Saturday's deadly storm killed three and injured six people. 

The roof of a storage building at a construction site in Zaolinzhuang village, Zhangjia township, was toppled by strong winds, killing two workers Saturday afternoon. Another person, also in Tongzhou, was killed after being struck by lightning.

"It was torn off in several seconds by the winds around 2 pm yesterday," a worker surnamed Chen told the Global Times Sunday.

Over 10 people were working near the building when the accident occurred, crushing five people. Two people died at the site and the other three injured people were sent to the nearby Luhe Hospital Saturday.

In Zaolinzhuang village Sunday, one of the worst-hit areas, trees were blown down, which cut electrical  wires and dragged down the poles.

Stores, food markets and houses were all destroyed by the storm to varying degrees. Some rooftops were completely toppled, while falling trees punched deep holes into walls. 

At an exhibition center in the village, which was also destroyed by Saturday's heavy rain and wind, nearly 30 rescuers from the People's Armed Police were clearing the mud and rocks, and trying to move the willow trees that had fallen on the ruins.

Several villagers claimed the disaster was caused by a tornado which hit the village Saturday afternoon.

"Many color steel plates, foam boards and plastic bags were wound up and rose in spiral… As the wind moved, the houses and buildings were destroyed one by one," said a villager surnamed Zhang.

Guo Jinlan, chief forecaster of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, said that while heavy gusts of wind did strike Tongzhou Saturday, they could not confirm whether it was a tornado.

"There is no observation station there, so we don't have enough evidence to say it's a tornado," she said.

The heavy storm cut the power and water supplies in the village. Workers repairing the electricity network from the State Grid Corporation said that since the network was severely destroyed by the wind, supplies will be restored tonight at the earliest. Water supply resumed Sunday morning.  

Zhangjia township has put an emergency plan into action.

"We can provide food, water and tents for villagers if needed. We've  sent officials to investigate the losses, and we'll compensate them later," said an official, surnamed Ma, from the township government office.

Posted in: Society, Metro Beijing

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