Floods kill dozens more in China, more rains expected

10:16, July 25, 2010      

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Rain-triggered floods and landslides have left at least 34 people dead, 28 others missing and forced the evacuation of more than 12,400 people in the past two days in west and central China, local authorities said.

Additionally, flooding in parts of China may worsen as the National Meteorological Center forecast on Saturday that torrential rains would continue to pound the nation's central and southwest regions through Sunday.

Water levels on the upper reaches of the Yangtze, the nation's longest river, are at their highest since 1987 and water levels on its middle and lower reaches are above warning levels for the first time since 2003.

Flooding was temporarily eased Saturday on the Yangtze River as the Three Gorges Dam saw water levels fall slightly from its crest stage, the nation's flood control authority said Saturday.

However, it also warned that the water level at the dam would rise again and exceed the record high reached Friday.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered local authorities to prepare for "more serious floods and disasters", as some major rivers saw water rising above their warning levels.

Wen said China was at a "crucial stage" for flood control during an inspection tour in central China's Hubei Province that began July 23.

Floods in China in 2010 have left 742 people dead and 367 missing, as of Friday morning, in 28 Chinese provinces, regions and municipalities.

The death toll increased by more than 34 during the past two days.

In southwest China's Sichuan Province, four people are dead and 16 missing after torrential rains caused flooding Saturday in one township, local authorities said.

Rainstorms pelted Chenhe Township in Tongjiang County for 10 hours Saturday beginning at midnight, triggering floods that swamped all one-floor houses in the worst-hit Chang Town. Roads leading into the town were cut off, as were telecommunications and power supplies, said officials in the county's emergency response office.

More than 3,100 people evacuated their homes and were relocated to warehouses and tents on higher ground, said Li Gang, head of the county government's information office.

Rescuers continue searching for residents reported as missing.

As the rain had ended by noon, floodwaters are receding from the town, he added.

In the northwestern province of Gansu, thirteen people died in a landslide caused by heavy rains in Pingliang City early Saturday, the provincial government's response office said in a statement.

Also, in neighboring Shaanxi Province more than 9,300 people were forced to flee their homes early Saturday as the Luofu River burst its banks.

The 50-meter breach widened to 80 meters in the afternoon.

More than 500 people were battling to strengthen the remaining riverbanks and fill the breach, said Dang Decai, Party secretary of Huayin City, where the breach occurred.

Shaanxi is among the worst-hit provinces, with 100 people dead and 149 missing since July 14, the provincial government said in a statement late Saturday.

In central Hubei Province, mountain torrents and river floods have left 13 people dead and 10 missing since late Friday.

Floods have also killed four people and left two missing in central China's Henan Province during the past two days.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

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