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The storms and tornado have killed 98 people and injured 800, Jiangsu governor Shi Taifeng said Friday morning.
Buildings collapsed as thunder, lightning, rainstorms, hailstorms and the tornado struck counties and villages in the city of Yancheng at about 2:30 pm. By 11 pm, among the 500 injured, about 200 were in critical condition, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
A State Council work group headed by Vice-Minister of Civil Affairs Dou Yupei rushed to Yancheng. The ministry has sent relief materials, including more than 1,000 tents and 2,000 folding beds, to the affected areas.
GCL System Integration Technology Co Ltd (002506.SZ), a $5-billion solar cell module maker, said a 40,000-sq-m. (430,000-sq-foot) factory it part-owned had collapsed, and it was assessing the damage.
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace said the storm caused the collapse of a GCL facility used to store hazardous chemicals, located near a drinking water plant and a river.
"The release of these chemicals could pose significant risk to public health and the local ecosystem," Greenpeace said in a statement.
The chemicals, including ammonia gas and silane, were stored in a solar panel factory in China's Jiangsu province, which was destroyed in Thursday's storm.