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Chinese floods kill 15, displace 550000
Updated: 2009-07-05 18:39

Torrential rains and floods in southern China have left at least 15 people dead and five missing.

About 550,000 people have been relocated as downpours have destroyed houses, inundated crops, cut power, damaged roads and caused rivers to overflow.

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In central-southern Hunan Province, eight people died and 140,000 were forced from their homes, according to the provincial flood control office.

In southeastern Fujian Province, five people died and two are missing.

In eastern Jiangxi Province, two people were killed and three others are missing. About 100,000 people had to flee their homes.

In the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 285,800 people were relocated.

In Guangxi's Rongshui county, 62 schools were flooded, and about 300 students were trapped in a boarding school.

An official with the county education bureau, Luo Enwu, told Xinhua on Sunday that local authorities had managed to send drinking water and food to them and restore power supplies.

In Guangxi's Luocheng county, about 7,500 residents living downstream from the Kama reservoir dam had been moved to safety as a 13.5-meter section of a dyke near the dam breached due under the rising water level.

On Sunday, workers dug two sluices, each 15 meters wide and 10 meters deep, on the dam to discharge flood water. Chen Zhangliang, vice chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said the dangerous situation was expected to be removed within few days with the sluices on the dam.

Strong rain began to subside on Sunday in parts of Guangxi, such as Guilin and Liuzhou cities, but local authorities are warning of possible flooding as river levels remain high.

However, eight more counties in Guangxi were hit by rainstorms Sunday, said the regional civil affairs department.

As of 11:40 a.m. Sunday, 3,600 homes in Guangxi have been toppled down and crops on 103,400 hectares damaged. Direct economic losses from the rain stood at 1.34 billion yuan (196.5 million U.S. dollars), according to the department.