Fresh breach in battered dike

07:59, June 24, 2010      

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A flood-battered dike in East China's Jiangxi province suffered a fresh breach on Wednesday as heavy flooding that have killed scores of people nationwide in the past week intensified. More than 100,000 residents in the area had already fled after an earlier break in its wall on Monday.

Across South, East and Central China, heavy rainfalls and floods have killed a combined number of 211 people and left another 119 missing as of 4 pm on Wednesday, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

More than 29 million people in the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities - Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan and Guizhou - have been affected by the weather, with 2.376 million evacuated, a statement said on Tuesday.

The Fu River in Jiangxi province first burst through the protective Changkai Dike late on Monday after days of torrential rain, threatening areas near the small city of Fuzhou.

The river punched through the embankment again at 6:30 am on Wednesday.

Residents whose homes were threatened had already been evacuated overnight.

Troops in orange vests were using boats to search for stranded residents and take them to safety.

"We did not want to leave but they said more heavy rain is coming in the next few days, so we decided to bring the children out," said Xiong Feijie, 31, who has been living on the upper floor of her home in Changkai town for the last two days.

In towns like Changkai, soldiers, civil militia and police were concentrating on rescuing the elderly, children and pregnant women. They took evacuees to a stadium in Fuzhou.

"We lacked rescue equipment the past few days, so they have been sending us more boats today and we've stepped up our rescue work," said rescuer Cui Suilai.

In some areas, the flood waters were up to chest level, inundating the ground floors of homes, shops and restaurants.

All of the villagers in at least 16 submerged villages had to be evacuated by Wednesday afternoon, according to the local government. The move came ahead of another round of heavy rainfalls forecast to hit the region in the coming days.

As the search-and-rescue operation neared its end, the city started to switch its efforts to the relocation of evacuees and supplying their basic needs.

Local authorities had set up 12 relocation centers for evacuees as of Wednesday afternoon, said the local government in a statement. At least 8,553 people had been transferred to these centers that can accommodate more than 30,000.

Local government has promised enough food, clothing, shelters, clean drinking water and medical services for everyone affected by the floods, the statement said.

Source:China Daily


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