Flooding, landslides and other disasters triggered by torrential summer rains
killed at least 349 people in China in June, and more heavy rains are expected
in the next 10 days, a government news agency reported.
Some 99 people are still missing, while damage is estimated at
20 billion yuan (US$2.5 billion), the Xinhua News Agency said late Monday,
citing the China Meteorological Administration.
All of the June flooding was in China's south, from typhoon-lashed Fujian on
the east coast through populous Guangdong and Sichuan provinces to Yunnan in the
China suffers hundreds of rain deaths every summer. The impact of flooding
has been worsened by centuries of heavy farming and tree-cutting that left
denuded hillsides unable to trap rain. Major cities are shielded by flood dikes
but small towns, especially in mountainous areas, are prey to deadly flash
Flooding and landslides were blamed for 267 deaths, while another 82 people
died in tornados, hailstorms and other disasters, Xinhua said.
China is expected to suffer from more typhoons than usual this year due to an
unusually warm current off its Pacific and high temperatures over the Tibetan
plateau, the report said.
In central and western China, new rains are forecast over the next 10 days,
possibly ending a drought that is plaguing the area, the weather agency
Rains in Hubei and Henan provinces, important farming areas, have been up to
50 percent below normal, the report said.
Some 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of crops have been damaged,
with losses estimated at 1 billion yuan (US$125 million; euro100 million),
"The rainfall will ease the drought and hot weather in the area," the weather
agency was quoted as saying.