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China Floods Wreak Havoc Across the Country

Heavy rain and flooding hits much of China this time every year, often with hundreds killed, but the number of casualties this year has been relatively low.

Shanghai: Heavy rain and thunderstorms are wreaking havoc across China, with floods along major rivers destroying bridges, blocking roads and railways, and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate, state media reported today.

Weather authorities are forecasting more downpours throughout the country today, with floods and landslides expected in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Heavy rain and flooding hits much of China this time every year, often with hundreds killed, but the number of casualties this year has been relatively low, at least in the early summer, with one province reporting 12 dead and another three.

The National Meteorological Center said that rainfall could exceed 80 mm per hour in some regions today. It also warned of floods in the northeast and called on authorities to halt outdoor activities and watch out for collapsing structures.

The flood-prone Yangtze river, which runs from Yunnan in the southwest to Jiangsu and Shanghai on the east coast, has seen a massive increase in water volume, causing flooding in many of its tributaries and bringing water volume in the giant Three Gorges reservoir close to record levels.

State news agency Xinhua reported on Friday that more than ten highways in Sichuan were inaccessible as a result of flooding, and a bridge across Sichuan’s Min river, a Yangtze tributary, had collapsed.

Floods in the province had caused damage to the tune of about 2.4 billion yuan ($358.74 million) by Thursday, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.

Meanwhile, the nearby city of Chongqing had evacuated more than 80,000 residents by Friday, reported Xinhua.

Heavy rain has also caused the Yellow River, which runs through northern China, to burst its banks, blocking a section of a railway line in the northwest province of Shaanxi.

Gansu province, also in the northwest, reported 12 people killed and more than one million affected by a week of heavy rain and flooding, said the official China Daily today.

The normally arid region of Inner Mongolia, which had suffered weeks of drought, also issued a flood warning on Friday.

($1 = 6.6900 yuan)

(Reuters)

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