Rainstorms death toll rises to 71 in S. China

UPDATED: 08:06, June 12, 2007

Seventy-one people have been killed in southern China by torrential rains which are expected to resume over the next couple days, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

"Mud slides and floods triggered by widespread rainstorms have also left 13 people missing, affected about 350,200 hectares of crops, completely destroying 57,600 hectares of them," said an official with the ministry.

The number of houses destroyed by floods has risen to 56,000, with another 104,000 houses damaged in southern China. Some 643,000 people were forced to evacuate from their homes, the official said.

Last week, continuous rainstorms hit Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Fujian, affecting more than 10.63 million people.

The disasters have caused overall economic losses of more than 3.43 billion yuan (436 million U.S. dollars), half of which was in the agriculture sector, according to the ministry.

Heavy rains are still ravaging several Guangdong cities such as Meizhou, Heyuan, Zhaoqing and Shaoguan, killing at least 20 people, injuring 279 others and leaving four people missing, according to the ministry's latest report.

Guangdong provincial observatory on Monday forecast heavier rains for the next two days again after they subsided Sunday afternoon.

More than 2.04 million people were affected in the province, and 153,600 were forced to evacuate from their homes, it said.

The province's economic losses stood at 1.25 billion yuan (160 million U.S. dollars), more than one third of the total losses from the disasters, according to the ministry.

The ministry has sent rescue teams to the disaster areas to assist relief work.

Source: Xinhua

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