CHINA / Regional

Rainstorms leave 29 dead in S.China
Updated: 2006-06-03 14:55

Rainstorms and ensuing floods in southern China's Guangdong and Fujian provinces have left at least 29 dead over the last several days, affecting hundreds of thousands of others, according to local government sources.

In the past three days, seven residents of Meizhou City in Guangdong have been killed in landslides and 270,000 others affected in the spate, the largest in a decade, the provincial water conservancy bureau said Saturday.

More than 50,000 people were evacuated from flood-hit areas.

Some 784 houses collapsed, nearly 15,000 hectares of cropland and various infrastructural facilities including dikes and roads were damaged by the rain and floods, incurring 270 million yuan (33.75 million U.S. dollars) in economic losses.

Five heavy rainstorms, with some 20 percent more of rainfall against the same period last year, will continue to afflict the province in June, the bureau has warned.

The provincial meteorological bureau issued an alarm Saturday on forthcoming rainstorms and floods, warning regions holding the seasonal dragon-boat races to ensure people's safety.

In Guangdong's neighboring province of Fujian, continuous heavy rains since May 30 have claimed lives of 22 people and destroyed 19,000 homes, forcing the evacuation of more than 50,000 people.

Floods have always tortured southern China at this time of the year, causing casualties and enormous damages despite the government's efforts in flood mitigation.

A senior official with the state flood-control authority has said that 59 had been killed and 19 million affected in nation-wide floods by the end of May.

Another 11 people remained missing and 71,000 houses have been destroyed, according to E Jingping, secretary general of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, who is also vice minister of water resources.

Direct economic losses were reported at more than 13 billion yuan (about 1.64 billion U.S. dollars), said the official.