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Planet Ark World Environment News Floods Kill at Least 100 Across China

Date: 23-Jul-07
Country: CHINA

Severe flooding has hit about half of China since the start of the summer, killing hundreds in what has become the deadliest rainy season in years.

Natural disasters, mostly floods, have killed more than 800 people so far this year. Television pictures for days have shown villagers wading chest high through muddy water and old people being carried from their inundated homes.

Fifty-nine people have died after rainstorms in mountainous Yunnan province in the southwest, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday. Rain has destroyed more than 4,000 houses and damaged thousands of hectares of crops. A 176-km (110-mile) highway linking Tengchong county in Yunnan and Myanmar has been severed by flows of mud and rock.

At least 40 people have died in storms in Shandong province on the east coast. Dozens have died in the central Chongqing region which President Hu Jintao visited at the weekend, urging the local government to ensure victims had clothing, food, shelter, power and drinking water.

The already swollen middle and lower reaches of the Huai river, China's third longest, face a severe test in the east with the water level expected to stay dangerously high for at least a further 10 days, Xinhua said.

Heavy rain was forecast to continue to hit large swathes of China through the weekend, including the Huai River basin.

More than 1 million people have been evacuated in Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces from the projected path of floodwaters from the Huai. There have been no reports of deaths.

"The dykes that have soaked in high water level for 19 days will be at an increased risk of breach in the coming 10 days," Xinhua quoted an official at the Anhui province flood control headquarters as saying.

Over the past few days, rain has increased the flooded area around the river by 133,000 hectares (329,000 acres), bringing the total flooded area to 254,000 ha (628,000 acres).

"Currently 182,000 people in Anhui are working to control flooding in the Huai," Xinhua said.

Four women were killed on Saturday when the wall of a building collapsed in Zhejiang province in the east, and local sources blamed the accident heavy winds and rain.

"Leaders warned local people to be on alert for lightning strikes and rainstorms and companies to ensure safety especially in construction sites," Xinhua said.

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