SHANGHAI: A typhoon slammed into eastern China on Wednesday, the country's third in a week, killing at least two people and causing more than $1 billion in damage, state media said.
Typhoon Haikui made landfall early on Wednesday morning in Zhejiang province south of Shanghai, after authorities moved nearly two million people to safety, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Shanghai media reported that glass falling from a building killed a 57-year-old woman and the collapse of a small chemical factory led to the death of a young boy sheltering inside with his family.
The Zhejiang and Shanghai governments had yet to officially report any deaths or injuries.
The typhoon quickly weakened after landing south of Ningbo city, the China Meteorological Administration said, but warned that Haikui was still packing winds of 119 kilometres (74 miles) per hour.
The storm had cut off electricity to nearly 400,000 households in Zhejiang province, Xinhua said. In Ningbo city two houses collapsed including a workers' dormitory but firefighters rescued all twelve trapped people, it said.
The typhoon flooded crops and caused at least 6.8 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) in direct economic damage in Zhejiang, according to an estimate by the provincial government.
Haikui did not make a direct hit on Shanghai – mainland China's financial hub – but the city raised its most severe typhoon signal shortly before midday on Wednesday and urged people to stay home.
The typhoon knocked down trees, halted hundreds of flights at the city's two airports and suspended some long-distance train services. The Shanghai stock market operated normally despite the typhoon.
Construction sites and public parks were ordered to be shut.
Shanghai officials moved 374,000 people to emergency shelters, amid fears the storm could be the worst since 2005, when Typhoon Matsa killed seven people in the city.
By late afternoon Wednesday, the typhoon had passed Zhejiang's provincial capital Hangzhou and was forecast to move into Anhui province, bringing rains of up to 400 millimetres (16 inches) in some areas.
Haikui is the third typhoon to hit China in a few days, after two battered other parts of the country over the weekend, killing 23 people, Xinhua reported earlier this week.
Typhoon Saola left 14 dead in the central province of Hubei while nine people were killed in the northeastern province of Liaoning by Typhoon Damrey, it said.
China is hit by typhoons every summer, normally affecting its eastern and southern regions.