HUAYIN, Shaanxi, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people were forced to flee their homes early Saturday as the Luofu River in northwest China burst its banks, but no casualties have been reported, say local authorities.
Water begin pouring through a 50-meter breach at 6 a.m. at Huayin City, Shaanxi Province, and the gap had widened to 80 meters by 4 p.m., said Dang Decai, secretary of Huayin City committee of the Communist Party of China.
More than 500 people were battling to strengthen the remaining river banks and would block the breach as soon as conditions permitted, said Dang.
"Stones and bags have arrived at the site," said Dang. "About 16 square km of land will be flooded."
A total of 6,404 people from 1,587 households had been evacuated before the breach, said a spokesman with Weinan City government, which administers Huayin.
River inspectors noticed the fast-rising water level in the Luofu, a tributary of the Weihe River, and alerted Huayin flood control officials at around 3 a.m., he said.
Torrential rains pounded Huayin City from 8 a.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.
Floods in China this year had left 742 people dead and 367 missing as of Friday, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
Floods have hit 28 provinces, regions and municipalities, affecting 120 million people and swamping 7.6 million hectares of crops, according to the headquarters.
They have destroyed 670,000 homes and resulted in direct economic losses of 152.4 billion yuan (22.51 billion U.S. dollars).