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Cleanup continues as highway reopens

By Li Yao  (China Daily)

09:26, July 25, 2012

The Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao expressway reopened to traffic shortly before noon Tuesday after workers finished moving 81 vehicles that had been abandoned during Saturday's massive downpour.

Ten divers and hundreds of rescuers spent two days pulling submerged cars off the expressway in Beijing, rescuers said. A 900-meter-long section of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao expressway was submerged in water 4 meters deep, the municipal government said. One lane heading out of the city was still closed on Tuesday.

Saturday's rainstorm, the worst to hit Beijing in 61 years, left 37 people dead and forced the evacuation of 77,325 others.

At a late-night meeting shortly before midnight Monday with high-ranking municipal officials, Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong said top priorities are releasing the disaster death toll as quickly as possible, returning evacuated residents after roads and houses are repaired, and compiling a detailed estimate of the damage.

The municipal government has allocated 100 million yuan ($15.7 million) for a relief fund for those who were evacuated, families of those who died, and other affected households that are struggling financially because of the floods.

Donation centers under the Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau have sent 8.61 million yuan in relief goods to the worst-hit districts, including Fangshan, Tongzhou, Mentougou and Fengtai, said Huang Yong, an official from the donation center.

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