Zhanjiang hit by worst downpour in 200 years

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-08-13 06:55

ZHANJIANG, Guangdong: Typhoon Pabuk has wreaked havoc in this coastal city of South China, bringing in the heaviest showers in two centuries.

Heavy rainfall has affected 1.17 million people in Zhanjiang and cities of Maoming and Meizhou, and caused an economic loss of 1.34 billion yuan ($176 million), Xinhua reported yesterday.

Floods have damaged a long stretch of the Zhanjiang-Leizhou Highway and the Guangdong-Hainan Railway, forcing the cancellation of a number of trains.

The Tangjia Township in Leizhou has been the worst hit, receiving 739 mm of rainfall in 24 hours, the heaviest in 200 years.

Intermittent showers pushed up water levels to record highs in two dams in Leizhou yesterday. The water levels in five Zhanjiang reservoirs have crossed the danger mark.

Water in the Dawan reservoir was threatening to overflow, forcing relief workers to dig channels to bring the level down at the weekend.

Shipping services in the Qiongzhou Strait between Guangdong and Hainan were suspended for more than 10 hours before being resumed yesterday morning.

Despite the grim situation, no death or missing case was reported till yesterday, said Chen Xiangsheng, director of the news office of Zhanjiang municipal government.

"Mudslides have damaged and blocked the Zhanjiang section of the Guangdong-Hainan Railway, and it's not certain when the line can be reopened," Chen said. The Guangdong-Hainan Railway is China's first cross-sea line that connects Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, with Haikou, capital of the island province of Hainan.

More than 700 workers are trying their best to clear and repair the tracks.

Shaanxi devastated

At least 25 people were killed in the devastation caused by torrential rain in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province in the past four days, raising the total death toll to 48.

Twenty-three people were killed in Shangluo city on August 1, local flood control authorities said. At least 65 people are still missing in the province, of which 28 were washed away in floods in Shangluo last month. The others were swept away in central and southern Shaanxi, provincial flood control officials said.

In Southwest China's Sichuan Province, a mud and rock flow hit an under-construction hydropower station in Ya'an city around midnight on Friday and killed at least 10 people.

Two persons are still missing, and about 150 soldiers and police officers are searching for them.

Heavy and continuous showers have caused more than half of the large- and medium-sized reservoirs in East China's Shandong Province to overflow, local authorities said yesterday.

Services on the South Xinjiang Railway in Northwest China have been suspended because winds of up to 117 km an hour have been sweeping across the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Across the country, 1,279 people have died and 239 are missing in natural disasters in south, northwest and east China in the first seven months of the year, according to Ministry of Civil Affairs figures released last week.

Xinhua contributed to the story

(China Daily 08/13/2007 page1)

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