Melting snow wrecks havoc in northern Xinjiang

Updated: 2010-05-01 22:13
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URUMQI - At least 1,266 residential buildings had collapsed and 12,372 were damaged in floods triggered by melting snows in northern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, since the beginning of March, local authorities said Saturday.

Few, however, were left homeless as most affected herdsmen still had homes on mountains in addition to their damaged government-funded houses on the plains.

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Altay Prefecture, which last winter received 40 percent more snow than average, had been hit by frequent floods as rapidly rising temperatures caused a thaw, the prefectural government said in a statement.

The floods had inundated 423 hectares of crops, killed 3,826 head of livestock, and damaged 58 km of roads and 28 bridges in Altay.

The direct economic losses were estimated at 81.3 million yuan ($11.9 million).

Local authorities had evacuated more than 100,000 residents from flooded areas since March, but most had returned to their homes.