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Incessant rain rises flood risk in China

Tuesday, 17 June 2008 - 6:54pm IST | Agency: PTI

Torrential rains continued to pound south China, shooting up water levels in the rivers and increasing risk of floods for tens of thousands of people.

BEIJING: Torrential rains continued to pound south China, shooting up water levels in the rivers and increasing risk of floods for tens of thousands of people, thus prompting authorities to evacuate them at several places, officials said.

Heavy rains in the past ten days have left 169 people dead in the southern part of country and led to the evacuation of more than 1.6 million people. It also caused direct economic loss of more than USD 2.2 billion with the threat of massive floods looming large over the Yellow River that runs through the north.

Many swollen rivers are already flowing above danger levels and burst their banks at some places in the booming Guangdong province, in neighbouring Hong Kong. Embankments are being strengthened in nine cities in the province, including its capital Guanzhou.

China has ordered emergency work to strengthen swollen dykes and reservoirs following storms and floods which the state-run 'China Daily' said were the worst in decades.

Thousands of people are threatened with floods in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Around 7,000 people have already been evacuated in the Longtou village, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

Continuous downpour also threatened a reservoir, forcing evacuation of 3,000 people downstream, it said. Five other reservoirs in the village are also in danger of bursting.

The fight against floods in south China had reached a "critical stage", Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, who is the commander-in-chief of the countrys drought and food prevention headquarters, was quoted as saying by the state media.

In east China's Zhejiang province, the Sanbao lock on the Hangzhou Canal to the Qiantangjiang River closed again on Tuesday, after being open for just a day, leaving more than 1,000 vessels stranded, officials said.

The incessant rainfall has increased the levels in many rivers, including the Qiantangjiang River. The Zhejiang capital, Hangzhou, and several other cities have experienced floods caused by the rain.

Twelve provinces and regions in southern China were swept by continuous heavy rain, with some areas facing the heaviest rainfall in 100 years, the state media said.

The worst storms and floods in decades have hit 38.56 million people in 20 provinces, mostly in the south, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Monday.

The rain could cause geologic disasters in southern and western Fujian in the next 24 hours.

Floods, drought or other natural disaster hit China every year. The country saw unprecedented snowstorms early this year and the devastating earthquake in May in southwest China has left more than 69,000 people dead and rendered millions homeless leaving a gigantic task of rehabilitation.

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