The bank of a rain-swollen river collapsed in southern China, flooding 11
villages filled with sleeping people and causing an unknown number of deaths and
injuries, the government's Xinhua News Agency reported.
Buildings are flooded in Nanping, southeast
China's Fujian Province. A bank collapse along a rain-swollen river in
Fujian yesterday flooded 11 villages where thousands of families were
asleep, killing an undetermined number of people. [Shanghai
The river bank collapse Thursday in Fujian province comes amid what the
government says is the worst summer flooding in parts of China in three decades.
At least 55 people have been killed and 12 are missing in Fujian and two other
provinces since late May from heavy rains that have caused floods and landslides
and washed away part of a rail-link between Beijing and Hong Kong.
Changting county in Fujian received more than 9 centimeters (3 1/2 inches) of
rain in two hours, causing the Bashili River to jump its banks and sweep through
the 11 villages Thursday morning, Xinhua said, citing provincial flood control
Some 3,500 families lived in the villages, parts of which were covered in as
much as 2 meters (yards) of water, the report said.
"Most of the people were asleep, so there's no way to calculate the number of
casualties and the loss of property," Xinhua said.
However, a man who answered the phone at the Changting county Public Security
Bureau said that his colleagues were at the site and that there were no reports
of deaths so far. He would only give his surname, Li.
People living within a few kilometers (miles) of the breech site in Balihe
Village who were reached by telephone said they had also not heard of any
Rescue crews, including paramilitary police and fire brigades, helped
evacuate more than 16,000 people from the area and were reinforcing the river
bank with sand bags, Xinhua said.
Across southern China, at least 378,000 people have already been evacuated
from the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong and Guizhou due to floods prompted by an
unusually heavy seasonal monsoon, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.
Fujian has been the worst affected, with 28 deaths since late May and direct
economic losses estimated at 2.19 billion yuan (US$274 million; euro214
Guangdong and Guizhou provinces have reported 11 deaths each. Other provinces
further inland and to the north have also reported scattered deaths and flood
China suffers hundreds of deaths every year in floods set off during the
June-to-August rainy season, although the season's first storm arrived unusually
early this year.
Rivers overflow and water rushes down mountains stripped of trees by decades
of farming and logging, often causing deadly landslides.
The rains played havoc on transportation, flooding streets and requiring
thousands of police and military officers to evacuate residents by boat.
Heavy rains in the southern inland province of Jiangxi washed out about a
30-meter (100-foot) section of track on the Beijing-Kowloon rail line early
Thursday, Xinhua said.
Southbound traffic resumed after about two hours, but repairs were continuing
on the northbound track, it said.