China warns of more rain in flood-hit areas

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Chinese weather authorities warned of more rain on Sunday in some of the areas worst hit by floods that have so far left at least 1,100 people dead or missing.


The Asian nation is grappling with its worst flooding in a decade, with its Yangtze River dangerously swollen as summer downpours continue to hit southern parts of the country. The National Meteorological Centre warned Sunday that parts of the badly hit southwestern province of Sichuan — where 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in recent days — would continue to see torrential downpours. Other areas such neighbouring Yunnan, as well as the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian would also see heavy rain, it added. Premier Wen Jiabao warned on Saturday that the situation was at a “crucial stage,” adding there could be worse to come as he toured the flood-hit central province of Hubei, wading knee-deep in Yangtze floodwaters. In Sichuan, rain-triggered floods and landslides have already killed 13 people and left another 20 missing since Thursday, the official Xinhua news agency reported. In one township, for example, rain fell continuously for 10 hours, triggering floods that swamped all single-storey houses. Roads leading into the town were cut off, as were power supplies and communications, Xinhua said. Thousands of people had to evacuate their homes and were sleeping in warehouses and tents on higher ground, it added. In neighbouring Shaanxi province, more than 700 workers were repairing a collapsed dyke on the swollen Qianhe River, which was threatening a railway bridge, Xinhua said. Recent rains there have killed at least 14 people. In Hubei’s Yichang city, meanwhile, six people died and another eight were missing in a landslide. The flooding, mostly in the southern half of the country, has caused economic losses of at least 22 billion dollars and affected 120 million people, the government has said. It has triggered fears of a repeat of disastrous Yangtze floods in 1998, the country’s worst in recent memory, which killed more than 4,000 people and forced the evacuation of 18 million.