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Heavy rains, hailstorms affect 758,000 central China

(Xinhua)

14:18, May 01, 2012

CHANGSHA, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Heavy rain and hailstorms in central China's Hunan Province have affected the lives of nearly 800,000 people, local authorities said Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by the Department of Civil Affairs of Hunan, rain and hail have battered parts of the province since April 28, affecting 758,000 people in Yueyang, Yiyang, Zhangjiajie and Yongzhou.

Massive rainfall triggered mountain torrents, landslides and floods in those areas, where 47,500 residents had been evacuated.

Some 32,600 hectares of farmland have been damaged, and 5,780 hectares of crops would bear no harvest.

Nearly 15,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed by the extreme weather. It was estimated that direct economic losses would add up to 464 million yuan (73.8 million U.S. dollars), according to the statement.

The department dispatched working groups to the worst-hit cities to deliver blankets to residents and conduct other rescue efforts.

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