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Tornado kills 6, injures nearly 200 in China

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A tornado has left six people dead and nearly 200 injured after ripping through a northeastern Chinese city, local authorities said Thursday.

The tornado hit Kaiyuan in Liaoning province on Wednesday afternoon, tearing down trees and electricity poles, smashing the windows of apartment buildings, and knocking down some brick walls.

More than 190 people were injured and 43 of them were hospitalized, the Kaiyuan public security bureau said on the Weibo social media platform.

Footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed a stretch of collapsed low-rise buildings where firefighters were working through the debris. Glass windows in homes and cars were blown out.

Liaoning resident Li Yuan said he owns a factory just 500 meters (yards) from where the tornado struck. His workers told him they initially thought it was “just a large cloud.”

“But when it came closer, they felt a strong gust of wind,” Li said in a phone interview. “All the trash, papers and leaves on the ground were blown into the sky. We heard ambulance and police car sirens all night.”

The tornado damaged factories and equipment in an industrial park, CCTV said. More than 210 people have been rescued, and another 1,600 were evacuated. Power will be restored to homes sometime Thursday, while businesses will regain power in the next three days, CCTV said.

Tornados are rare in China. In 2016, a tornado and accompanying hailstorm killed 98 people in eastern Jiangsu province.