Sunday, 22 June 2014

At least 26 dead as storms hit Southern China

At least 26 people died, three were missing and some 337,000 were evacuated as summer storms brought torrential rain and flash floods to much of southern China, the government said on Sunday.

The National Meteorological Centre forecast more heavy rain in large areas of southern China on Sunday and Monday.

Seven people have died in central China's Hunan Province, five in the eastern province of Jiangxi and two in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south of the country.

Hunan provincial civil affairs bureau confirmed that four people are missing.

In Hunan, torrential rainstorms swept across ten cities and 47 counties. About 2.08 million people in the province were affected and 171,000 have been relocated.

The rainstorms also caused severe damage to 9,700 houses and 122,700 hectares of crops. So far direct economic losses have amounted to 1.57 billion yuan (251.2 million U.S. dollars) in the province.

Highways and railways were forced to shut because of landslides on Friday. Services all resumed by Saturday morning.

In Jiangxi, four of the five deaths in the province were caused by the collapse of a school building triggered by a landslide.

Jiangxi's local bureau of civil affairs reported that about 789,000 people were affected and 123,000 have been relocated as of 10 a.m. on Saturday. Downpours have swept the province since Wednesday.

The rainstorms in Jiangxi, which have caused the collapse of or substantial damage to 4,000 houses and affected 63,100 hectares of crops, have led to direct economic losses of 530 million yuan (84.85 million U.S. dollars).

Water levels of rivers and reservoirs are above warning levels in Jiangxi and local governments have been told to fully prepare for floods.

In Guangxi, besides the two deaths, more than 118,700 people were affected and 2,341 have been relocated as of 3 p.m. on Saturday, according to the regional civil affairs department.

Heavy downpours have been wreaking havoc in east and south China during the past week, forcing authorities to initiate a grade IV emergency response on Saturday.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the China National Commission for Disaster Reduction have dispatched emergency response teams to the regions.

Relief materials, including tents and cotton blankets, have been sent to disaster-hit regions.

A grade IV response, the lowest in the country's emergency response system, means a 24-hour alert, daily damage reports, and dispatching money and relief materials within 48 hours.

Several dozen people perished in weather-related deaths in the region earlier this month.

Sunday 22 June 2014


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