Death toll from south China floods rises to 135

07:53, July 16, 2010      

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At least 135 people had been confirmed dead and 41 are missing, as some of the worst flooding in years continues in south China.

By 4 p.m. Thursday, close to 35.5 million people in 10 southern provinces and Chongqing Municipality had been affected by continuous rainstorms and floods since July 1, the Civil Affairs Ministry said in a notice on its website.

About 113,000 homes were destroyed and more than 1.2 million people had been relocated, it said.

Direct economic losses were estimated at about 26 billion yuan (3.8 billion U.S. dollars), up from Wednesday's 22.2 billion yuan.

In Jiangxi Province alone, at least eight people have died since July 8, and direct economic losses have amounted to more than 2.9 billion yuan.

The ministry had dispatched work groups to Jiangxi to direct relief work.

The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters announced earlier Thursday that floods had killed 594 people in 26 provinces since the beginning of the year. Another 212 people were missing.

Direct economic losses cause by the floods totaled 120.2 billion yuan, the office said, adding that 97.5 million people and 6.16 million hectares of farmland were affected.

In Hubei Province, continuous downpours and rain-triggered floods since July 3 have left 32 people dead and two missing.

Heavy rainfall has raised water levels in many rivers in the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River, China's longest, and a new round of rainstorm is expected to pelt the river course soon, bringing possibility of serious floods.

The river's Three Gorges Dam raised the speed of water discharge Thursday afternoon to save space for the upcoming gushing flooding waters.



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