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At least 12 dead after two back-to-back tornadoes in China

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Back-to-back tornadoes have killed 12 people in central and eastern China and left more than 300 others injured, authorities said on Saturday.

Eight people died in the inland city of Wuhan on Friday night and four others in the town of Shengze, about 400 kilometres east in Jiangsu province, local governments said.

The first tornado struck Shengze about 7 p.m., damaging homes and factories and knocking out power, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Four people died and 149 others had minor injuries. Shengze is near Shanghai on China”s east coast.

Another tornado hit Wuhan at about 8:40 p.m. with winds of 86 kilometres per hour, destroying more than two dozen homes and triggering a power outage affecting 26,600 households, Xinhua said.

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Officials in Wuhan said at a news conference on Saturday that eight had died and 230 were injured.

According to the Hubei Daily newspaper 28 homes collapsed in Wuhan and another 130 were damaged.

Construction site sheds and two cranes were also damaged, while downed power lines knocked out electricity, Xinhua said.

Photos showed a swarm of rescuers searching through building debris in Wuhan after midnight Friday and workers clearing metallic debris at a factory in Shengze in the morning.

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Wuhan is the city in which COVID-19 was first detected in late 2019.

Tornados are rare in China. In July 2019, a tornado killed six people in the northeastern Liaoning province, and another tornado the following month killed eight on the southern resort island of Hainan.

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