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Nonstop downpours batter SW China

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-11 21:49

CHENGDU - Continuous and severe downpours keep wreaking havoc in Southwest China's Sichuan province, local authorities said Thursday.

The province, which suffered a drastic earthquake in 2008 and this year respectively, has seen heavy rainfall since Monday evening.

Torrential rain that started sweeping across the country from Sunday has led to floods and landslides, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Thursday in its daily update on the losses caused by the weather.

As of Thursday afternoon, a landslide has led to 18 deaths in a village in the city of Dujiangyan, the city government said.

An initial investigation showed that 107 people across Dujiangyan city were missing or can not immediately be reached, it said.

Rainstorms have also resulted in four people being killed, 20 others missing in Wenchuan county, which was the epicenter of an earthquake that left 87,000 people dead or missing on May 12, 2008.

As of Thursday morning, all the towns in the county were affected by rain-triggered floods while five bridges collapsed, four bridges were impassable and major roads cut off, according to the county government.

About 234,000 people have been affected and four people are still missing in the city of Deyang.

However, 231 people trapped in Hongbai township in the county-level city of Shifang, administrated by Deyang city, were found by rescuers Thursday afternoon, said the local disaster relief headquarters.

They are expected to be evacuated on Friday, the headquarter said.

Heavy rainfall has also cut off access to roads and toppled houses in many parts of Sichuan.

As of Thursday morning, flooding cut off all routes into three townships in Maoxian county.

Local authorities are trying to find out the exact number of people missing in the region. Search and rescue work is underway.

In the provincial capital Chengdu city, more than 1,820 people have been relocated from waterlogged central urban areas to avoid possible safety risks.

The city's education bureau has told all schools to suspend classes.

As of Thursday, more than 22,000 soldiers and militiamen have been sent to help with rescue work in evacuating residents and clearing roads.

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