Floods kill 132 in China

June 20, 2010 12:00 am

, BEIJING, Jun 20 – The death toll from torrential downpours battering China for the past week has reached 132, state media reported Sunday, as more heavy rain was forecast.

Floods and landslides triggered by the summer deluge have left a further 86 people missing while more than 800,000 have been evacuated, state-run television said.

Earlier media reports said more than 1.4 million people living on river banks and in low-lying areas had been forced to flee their homes.

More heavy rain was expected as the cost of the disaster, which has hit great swathes of China\’s south, reached 14.5 billion yuan (2.1 billion dollars), state television said.

A total of 68,000 houses have collapsed and more than 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) of crops have been affected, it said.

Authorities have raised the level of their emergency response as rescue and flood-prevention work continues, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

State television broadcast images of submerged crops in the eastern province of Jiangxi while other images showed soldiers leading clean-up efforts in parts of Fujian province.

Images showed overturned cars and people sweeping water and mud out of their shops in Fujian after floodwaters had receded.

Photos on China News Service showed people wading through waist-high water as they tried to cross a flooded bridge in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

Others showed people being rescued by helicopter from flood-ravaged Guangxi in the south while others and farmers in Fujian province trying to salvage crops damaged in the deluge.

The official Xinhua news agency also reported that in Fujian province alone, 12 people had died in a landslide while seven had been rescued.

The torrential and virtually unrelenting rain has also disrupted train services to the affected regions, with 18 services from Shanghai suspended Saturday, leaving 20,000 passengers stranded, state media said.

Eight train services remained suspended on Sunday.

Another service from Beijing to Fuzhou in Fujian province was stopped from leaving the capital on Saturday due to the floods.

The National Meteorological Centre warned on Sunday of more rainstorms to come, two days after it issued an orange storm alert — just one level lower than the nation\’s most serious red alert.

"The scope and intensity of the rain have increased," it said in a statement on its website.

"In parts of Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Henan, Guangxi and other areas of the south, the rainfall will be 100-180 millimetres. In other parts, the rainfall will be more than 200 millimetres."

The weather bureau said previously that some of the rainfall in the south was up to three times greater than normal years.


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