New round of heavy rain hits China; 55,000 evacuated

09:06, June 15, 2011      

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A new round of heavy rain has started to batter several southern regions, causing more deaths and triggering floods and landslides which had forced over 55,000 people to evacuate their homes as of late Tuesday, local authorities said.

Workers of a community committee try to lay sand bags in front of the door of an apartment on the first floor after heavy rains hit the city of Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, June 14, 2011. (Xinhua Photo)

Torrential rain began to lash Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Anhui provinces Monday evening and Zhejiang Province Tuesday morning. The rain is forecasted to last till Friday in some regions, according to local meteorological authorities.

More than 53,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in Hubei City of Xianning, as downpours had raised the level of a local river by five meters as of 7 pm, local authorities said.

Previous heavy rainfall had already caused widespread destruction in Xianning, leaving dozens dead and over 100 injured.

Three people were killed by lightning in Guizhou late Monday and Tuesday, where more than 2,700 were evacuated from areas at risk of flooding.

Heavy downpours and hailstorms also hit the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Monday night, killing four people and nearly 1,000 farm animals.

Flooding and landslides triggered by an earlier two rounds of rainstorms had left 105 people dead and 63 more missing in the south over the past 10 days, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Monday.

The Wuhan Central Meteorological Observatory issued four rainstorm alerts from Monday night to Tuesday morning to get residents in Hubei to brace themselves for the torrential rain.

Twenty-four counties and cities in Hubei have received over 50 mm of rainfall over the past day and the precipitation in Gong'an and Yingcheng has reached nearly 100 mm, said Xu Shuangzhu, chief weather forecaster at the observatory.

In the already hard-hit Yueyang city in Hunan, the new round of rain further damaged the embankments of several reservoirs, and last week, flash floods and landslides caused by the largest rainstorm in 300 years killed 29 people and left 20 missing.

City authorities have ordered the repair of the damaged embankments, checks on all reservoirs for problems, and the evacuation of downstream residents who might be in danger.

In the city of Huangshan in southern Anhui, water overflowed from 35 reservoirs and exceeded the warning levels in 124 reservoirs, according to the city flood control and drought relief headquarters.

The agency has also ordered precautions and checks for potential geological disasters and the relocation of threatened residents.

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Source: Xinhua
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