Heavy rains kill 70, losses mounting in S China (2)

20:12, May 11, 2010      

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Meanwhile, Jiangxi claimed to have suffered its heaviest rainstorm in 60 years. The latest figures showed that 24 people in more than 60 of the province's cities and counties had been killed. The economic losses could reach 1.24 billion yuan, officials said.

Sun Jun, with the National Meteorological Center, told the Xinhua News Agency that "South China has already entered its flood season, one month earlier than in past years. The biggest floods have yet to come."

Sun said the torrential rains were triggered by the El Nino phenomenon, featuring warm and wet air in south China that meets with cooler air in north China traveling south.

Weather conditions in the country have been abnormal, and it is possible that China will experience extreme weather this year, a China Meteorological Administration (CMA) forecast said.

Extreme weather conditions, including rainstorms, flooding and gales, have claimed 94 lives this year with 21 people still missing, according to official figures.

Additionally, more than 80,000 homes have been destroyed, and more than 10 million people in 13 provinces and cities have been affected, as have 673,600 hectares of crop land, with economic losses from the crops alone estimated at about 7.36 billion yuan ($1.08 billion).

In contrast to the heavy rain, much of southern China has been desperate for water since March.

Drainage, reservoirs put to test

Streets, shops and garages have been submerged in water in Guangdong, leading to economic losses totaling 1 billion yuan.
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