Mon, June 21, 2010
China > Mainland

147 killed as heavy rain lashes south

2010-06-21 01:29:30 GMT2010-06-21 09:29:30 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

A resident wades through the flooded streets of Yujiang, Jiangxi province, Sunday, June 20, 2010. Heavy rain inundated the county and affected 120,000 people. [Xinhua]

Local residents row a rubber dinghy to get through the heavily-inundated city proper, at Nanchang, southeast China's Jiangxi Province, June 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Yuan Zheng)

A young man carries an elder on his shoulder to wade through the waterlogged street, at Nanchang, southeast China's Jiangxi Province, June 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Yuan Zheng)

The latest round of torrential rains that flooded townships in southern China killed 147 people and forced 1.09 million residents to flee their homes by the weekend, with more storms forecast, authorities said on Sunday.

The storms affected 15.33 million people and left 93 residents missing in nine provincial-level regions since June 13, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

More than 178,000 houses have been destroyed and direct economic losses have topped 19.7 billion yuan ($2.9 billion), it said.

The flood also disrupted inter-provincial train services, affected 784,200 hectares of crops and trapped thousands of residents in counties where power supply and transportation were cut off.

More thunderstorms in the areas were forecast from late Sunday to Monday, the National Meteorological Center said.

Hunan and Jiangxi provinces were among the worst hit areas.

In Hunan, eight people were killed and 11 went missing, according to the provincial flood control office on Sunday.

Seven people were killed among the 1.97 million residents affected in Jiangxi and its four counties were inundated with floods more than 1 meter deep, local flood control and drought relief authorities said. The areas also suffered electricity shortage as well as communication breakdowns.

About 3,300 people were still trapped in the floods in Jiangxi's Yingtan city on Sunday morning, the local government said.

"The rain was too heavy. The water level was about 10 cm on Saturday evening but it rose to the second floor overnight," Shao Xu, a local resident trapped in a residential building in Yujiang county of Yingtan, told China Daily on the phone.

"It's like a vast ocean. We're short of food and drinking water."

The heavy rain since Saturday morning triggered floods by noon, said Chen Shuhua, an official with Yangxi village of Yujiang county.

"We rescued most of the people and passed the night on high land or in government offices," Chen said. "We still cannot enter six or seven affiliated villages for rescue work. We need motor boats."

Floods and torrential rain also paralyzed roads and railways to and from Yingtan, with trains bound south canceled or delayed.

About 40,000 passengers were reportedly stranded in Shanghai and more than 20,000 people sought ticket refunds after 30 trains were canceled.

"I don't know if my train to Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, will be canceled today," a woman surnamed Ma said on Sunday at the Shanghai South Railway Station.

"I can't check in but have to wait outside of the station for any further announcements."

Premier Wen Jiabao visited flood-affected Wuzhou of Guangxi over the weekend and called for better forecasts, alarm systems and emergency response plans to deal with the inclement weather.

Wen urged local governments to ensure that flood victims have adequate food, clothes, drinking water, accommodation and medical services.

The National Meteorological Center also issued a high temperature alert on Sunday. Hot weather is forecast to hit northwest and central China, with maximum temperatures reaching 45 C.

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