Typhoon Soudelor kills 9 in China: State media

BEIJING - Typhoon Soudelor killed nine people in eastern China after parts of the country were hit by the heaviest rains in a century, state media reported Sunday.

Another three people are missing after the storm caused landslides in rural parts of eastern Zhejiang province, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing local disaster relief officials.

Wencheng county saw downpours of 645 millimetres in 24 hours - the heaviest rains in 100 years - after the typhoon made landfall on Saturday night, it said.

The storm has caused at least 248 million yuan (S$55 million) in economic damage and cut power to more than two million homes, Xinhua said. More than a quarter had electricity restored by Sunday morning.

Billed as the biggest typhoon of the year earlier in the week with winds of up to 230 kilometres (140 miles) an hour, Soudelor - named after a legendary Micronesian chief - has since weakened.

China's National Meteorological Center forecast the typhoon will be downgraded to a tropical depression by Sunday night as it moved further inland.

Soudelor left six people dead in Taiwan, where it ripped up trees and triggered landslides, damaging electricity lines and knocking out power to a record four million households.

Almost half a million homes were still without power Sunday, Taiwan Power Co. said, as blocked roads hampered efforts to restore supplies in some areas.

Taiwan's death toll rose to six after an eight-year-old girl who went missing Thursday after being swept out to sea with her mother and twin sister was found dead.

Her mother and sister, caught in the strong waves on the east coast, were the first victims of the typhoon.

Some 379 people were injured by the storm in Taiwan, which saw rivers break their banks under torrential rain and towering waves pound the island's coastline.

Taiwan lifted its typhoon warning Sunday, but the weather bureau warned of further heavy rains in the south.