SW China rainstorms leave seven dead, five missing

13:21, July 06, 2011      

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A new round of heavy downpours in southwest Sichuan Province that began Monday evening has left one dead and another missing, bringing the rain-triggered death toll to seven since June 30, the provincial flood control office said Wednesday.

At 4:40 p.m. Tuesday, a villager from Wangcang County was killed when a wall collapsed while he was discharging water from his yard.

Earlier on the same day, a student from Guangyuan City was swept away by flood waters while walking to school and is now listed as missing.

Continuous downpours have wreaked havoc in Sichuan since last Thursday.

Eight people have lost contact with their families due to floods, which have forced 27,600 people to relocate, according to the flood control office.

Rain-triggered mudslides have cut off access to a pivotal highway in the province, State Highway 213, which was referred to as a "lifeline" by rescue workers following the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in the province.

Repair work on the highway is under way but was greatly hindered by new cave-ins.

At least 400 meters of the highway was totally damaged by the roadside river as the course of it was diverted as a result of a mudslide, said Gao Feng, head of the provincial traffic bureau.

Direct economic losses are estimated to reach 500 million yuan (77 million U.S. dollars) as a result of the flooding.

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) forecast that rainstorms would continue lashing southwestern regions till Thursday.

Source: Xinhua
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