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Rainstorm hits central China province, affecting 200,000
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11:26, April 20, 2008

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Continuous rainstorm has been slamming a prefecture in the central Hubei province since Friday and affected more than 200,000 people. But no casualties have been reported, a local civil affairs department spokesman said Saturday.

The rainstorm, the worst in 21 years in Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, has flattened 126 houses, destroyed crops on 17,700 hectares and forced the evacuation of 107 local residents, the spokesman said.

The disaster caused a direct economic loss of 18.14 million yuan (2.6 million U.S. dollars), he added.

Mountain torrents also flooded Sanhe village in Longfengba Town in the prefecture.

In villager He Xiaobin's house, the water was almost 50 centimeters deep. "We have been busy draining the water for quite a long time," he said.

In the downtown area of Enshi City, many motor vehicles were stranded in streets where the mass rainwater accumulated and some houses were even flooded.

The local observatories have issued a red warning alert on landslides and floods.

By 2 p.m. Saturday, the prefecture had received a rainfall totaling 159.4 millimeters. The rain is still continuing.

Another round of rainstorms is expected to hit some parts of Hubei in the upcoming days, according to the observatory of Wuhan, the provincial capital.

Wuhan's neighboring areas were warned of thundering and rainstorm Saturday night.


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