China / Society

Six dead, 34 missing in North China rainstorm

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-21 09:36
SHIJIAZHUANG - At least six people were confirmed dead and 34 others remain missing after heavy rain hit north China starting Monday.

Three fatalities were confirmed in Shanxi Province, two in Henan Province, and another in neighboring Hebei Province. The missing were all reported in Hebei Province, local authorities said Wednesday.

Hebei Provincial Meteorological Bureau on Wednesday morning issued a red alert for rainstorms, forecasting heavy rain to continue throughout the coming hours.

Red is the most serious alert in China's four-tier color-coded system for severe weather.

The provincial water resources department said rain has caused disasters in 19 counties. The cities of Handan, Xingtai and Shijiazhuang all saw up to 630 millimeters of rain.

Rain has caused the major rivers in the province to breach their banks, damaging 11 dams, two hydropower stations, 112 telecom base stations, and inundating 4,000 hectares of farmland.

The civil affairs department relocated 67,158 people over safety concerns, as the provincial land resources bureau warned of flooding, landslides and mountain torrents.

In the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang, 13 road underpasses were also waterlogged.

In Shanxi, rainstorms since Monday have affected 39 counties, with more than 14,000 residents temporarily relocated as of noon Wednesday. More than 600 houses were toppled and another 1,700 damaged, according to figures released by the Shanxi provincial civil affairs department.

Provincial land resources and weather authorities have issued two alerts for geological disasters in the next 24 hours.

Nearly 50 train trips were suspended, according to the railway bureau of Taiyuan, the provincial capital. An expressway in Pingyang County was also closed after a massive road collapse caused by rain-triggered floods.

In Henan Province, which borders Shanxi, nearly 100,000 residents were temporarily relocated in the city of Anyang as water levels of three major local reservoirs exceeded warning levels.

Direct economic losses reached 300 million yuan as more than 130 houses were toppled and over 6,000 hectares of crops were damaged.

The rainstorm has also disrupted road traffic and cut off telecommunications, and reports of casualties and damage are expected to rise.

Late on Tuesday, the city discharged 2,500 cubic meters of floodwater to the Cuijiaqiao flood basin, causing a dike to breach. More than 3,000 people are rushing to close the breach.

The national meteorological authority on Wednesday maintained its orange alert, the second highest level, for rainstorms across the country.
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