Millions affected by rainstorms, floods in southern China

08:07, June 18, 2010      

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The heavy rains that began pounding southern China regions Sunday had as of 10:00 a.m. Thursday left 46 dead, 50 missing and millions of local residents affected, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

Flash floods and landslides caused by the heavy rains have brought about casualties and economic loss in 74 county-level cities in six southern provincial-level regions, including Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Sichuan, the ministry said in a notice on its website Thursday.

More than 2.56 million people had been affected and about 238,000 had been evacuated from their homes, the notice said, adding that more than 33,000 homes had collapsed or been damaged.

The rains and ensuing floods and landslides had caused direct economic losses of 2.72 billion yuan (about 398 million US dollars) with about 126,700 hectares of crops affected, of which 14,500 hectares had been destroyed.

The ministry and the Chinese National Committee for Disaster Reduction Tuesday initiated a level-IV emergency response plan, dispatching work teams to guide the relief work in the three worst-hit regions - Fujian, Guangxi and Sichuan.

According to the ministry's working regulations on emergency response issued last year, emergency response plans should be initiated to help with natural-disaster relief work across the country.

The National Meteorological Center issued a rainstorm alert on Wednesday as more rain is expected to hit southern China over the coming days.

Also on Thursday, the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued an urgent circular, urging civil affairs departments at all levels to be fully prepared for upcoming dangers and draw up emergency plans for disaster relief.

Various civil affairs departments were told to supervise and verify latest disaster-related statistics such as the number of deaths and missing as well as damaged houses.

Damages from a disaster should be reported no less than two hours after they happen while major damages must be reported to the central government immediately, the circular directed.

The ministry ordered local civil affairs departments to cooperate with with traffic and finance departments to ensure that relief personnel get to, and relief funds and materials be transferred to the affected areas within 24 hours after a disaster.



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