|Photo taken on April 17, 2011, shows a wire pole which fell down in a wind storm in an industrial zone in Foshan City of south China's Guangdong Province, April 17, 2011. (Xinhua/Chen Binghui)
GUANGZHOU, April 18 (Xinhua) -- At least 18 people were killed and 155 injured in south China's Guangdong Province as of Monday after hailstorms and strong winds rocked the region, flood control authorities said.
Winds as strong as 164 km per hour, accompanied by hail and lashing rain, battered the cities of Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing and Dongguan on Sunday, a spokesman with the province's flood control headquarters said.
The storms have affected over 3,200 people so far, forcing 380 of them to evacuate their homes, he said.
At least 45 houses collapsed in the storms, he added.
Most of the victims were killed when the strong winds brought down walls and other structures. Falling debris also claimed several lives.
As of Monday morning, the storms have swept over 1,087 hectares of farmland and caused about nearly 96 million yuan (14.7 million U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses, according to the provincial civil affairs department.
The department said it has dispatched a team to disaster-affected areas to direct relief work.
Local governments in Guangdong have initiated emergency plans to move injured victims to hospitals, provide aid to elderly residents and examine damaged buildings to evaluate their condition.
The southwestern province of Guizhou was doubly affected, as hailstones pounded 10 counties on Friday and Saturday, causing 75 million yuan in direct economic losses, local authorities said.