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Rainstorms hammer southern part of China

By Wang Qian and Wen Xinzheng (China Daily)

08:23, May 10, 2013

Two government workers in Xinhua county, Hunan province, remove tree trunks on Wednesday that were broken by rainstorms. (Guo Guoquan / for China Daily)

Rainstorms have pounded most parts of central and southern China since Monday, flooding streets and claiming dozens of lives.

In Xiangtan, Hunan province, three workers were trapped in a drain and died during a downpour on Wednesday, according to Wu Yuhang, a spokesman for the city government.

The three deaths raised the number of deaths from the storm in the province to at least 10.

Others provinces, including Jiangxi, Guangdong and Guizhou and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, have also been hit by heavy rain since Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The National Meteorological Center issued a blue alert on Thursday, predicting more heavy rain for Friday in the central and southern provinces and regions.

Up to 140 millimeters of rain is expected before Friday, the center said.

The Chinese meteorological authority uses a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

The center urged authorities to prepare for the coming heavy rains - checking dangerous areas for possible secondary disasters such as landslides, cutting off outdoor electricity and suspending outdoor activities.

Xie Yingxia, vice-president of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design's Institute of Urban Water and Engineering, warned that the current drainage system cannot keep pace with the rapid urban construction, causing potentially fatal flooding.

The death of the three workers in Xiangtan comes just weeks after Yang Lijun, a 21-year-old in Changsha, capital of Hunan, fell into an uncovered drainage hole during a heavy rainstorm. She has been missing since March 22.

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