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Heavy downpours kill 7 in south China, thousands evacuated
Publication Date : 15-05-2012
Torrential downpours have ravaged parts of southern China this month, triggering floods, damaging buildings and farmland and claiming tens of lives so far.
The heavy rainfall is expected to subside in Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, while downpours are likely to continue in Fujian and Guangdong provinces, the National Meteorological Centre said yesterday.
The maximum precipitation volume was recorded in Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi and Guangxi, reached 306 mm yesterday, according to the agency.
Due to the constant torrential rains, a wall collapsed in Hengyang county, Hunan province, yesterday, burying six pupils, four of whom were killed.
The water level of the Miluo River, which feeds into Dongting Lake, in Jiangxi and Hunan, was nearly 4 metres higher than excessive water levels recorded on Sunday, according to the local authorities.
The flood control and drought relief headquarters in Jiangxi province said this is a critical time for the province, which is threatened by flooding as water levels in rivers and lakes are dangerously high.
Nearly 12,000 people had been evacuated in the province as of Sunday, and a picture of a young boy swimming in a flooded street in Nanchang was popular online.
In Hunan province, about 172,000 residents threatened by rainstorms had been relocated, local authorities said yesterday, Xinhua News Agency reported.
As of noon yesterday, continuous rain had affected the lives of more than 2.91 million people in 50 counties in the province, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.
More than 3,600 houses in Hunan have collapsed in the storms, which have also led to direct losses of about 2.88 billion yuan ($456 million).
Shaoguan, Guangdong province, has seen flash floods since Sunday, leaving more than 1,400 residents trapped on rooftops and other high places. No deaths were reported, local authorities said.
According to official estimates, the strong rainfall on Sunday caused direct economic losses of more than 55 million yuan ($8.7 million) with nearly 3,000 hectares of farmland damaged in Shaoguan.
As downpours are expected to continue in Guangdong, the local meteorological bureau warned of possible mudslides and flooding this week.
Liuzhou, a city in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, issued its highest alarm on Saturday in forecasting rainstorms. On Saturday morning, a mountain deluge flooded a temporary tent shelter in Hezhou, killing three people, injuring four and leaving one person missing.
With the heavy storms in most southern parts expected to end on Tuesday, the National Meteorological Centre cleared rainstorm alarms yesterday.