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East China on flood alert as Huaihe swells
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10:42, July 09, 2007

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 Floods kill 94 in south China
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East China will stay on flood alert, with more torrential rain expected to batter the belt along Huaihe River in the next three days, as floods and landslides claimed 94 lives across the country.

Continuous rain has swollen rivers and reservoirs in east, central and southwest China, inundating large tracts of farmland and threatening hundreds of thousands of people, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said in a statement yesterday.

The flood-prone Huaihe River flows between the Yellow and Yangtze rivers and cuts through Henan Province in Central China, and Anhui and Jiangsu provinces in the east.

Though no casualties have been reported from Henan, Anhui or Jiangsu, the headquarters said about 8.66 million people have been affected and around 1.18 million hectares of land is under water in the three provinces.

More than 326,000 people have been mobilized to check the dams in the region and pre-empt a disaster, it said.

On Saturday, Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu toured Anhui and Henan to review the measures against floods, and urged local governments to try every possible means to provide people with shelter, enough food, water, clothing and timely medical services.

Hui, who is also the director of the headquarters, said: "We have entered a critical period in the fight against floods."

The Ministry of Civil Affairs' website yesterday said 94 people have been killed in floods, landslides and house collapses triggered by torrential rain in Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan, Chongqing and Shaanxi. Twenty-five people are missing.

The disaster has affected 16.7 million residents. About 555,000 people have been evacuated and 289,000 houses damaged or destroyed.

The worst hit area is the southwest province of Sichuan where 26 people were killed and 17 are missing after rainstorms began on July 2, a ministry statement said.

"Damage to crops, roads and telecommunication facilities has been serious," it said.

The death toll in Hubei Province has climbed to 30 since June 27, the ministry said.

Shots of badly flooded roads in several cities of Sichuan have been flashed across TV screens. The latest rainfall in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in Sichuan has forced the authorities to open the floodgates of the Three Gorges Dam, Xinhua News Agency said.

Rainstorms battered Sichuan and Hubei in June, too, killing dozens of people.

Heavy downpours also lashed the northwestern province of Shaanxi this week, killing five persons, the ministry said. Three persons are still missing.

The northern part of the country, on the other hand, is under the grip of a drought-like situation, affecting the supply of drinking water to at least 7.4 million people, Xinhua said.

Source: China Daily/Xinhua

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