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At least 51 killed by flooding in Xinjiang
( 2003-06-18 17:24) (Xinhua)

At least 51 people have been killed in floods in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since the beginning of this month.

Zhang Zhiliang, a local official in charge of flood prevention and drought control, said over 40 cases of flooding had occurred across the region since June 1, causing severe human and property losses.

Zhang said flooding occurred as the flow of water in local rivers and lakes had increased rapidly since June 1, coupled with melting snow in some places, landslides, mud-and-rock flows caused by downpours. Risk situations had been reported at some river embankments in the region.

Twenty-seven people were killed in flooding in the Ili River valley on the night of June 5, and another three were injured. The floods caused 84 separate cases of landslides and mud-and-rock flows.

Zhang said the frequent flooding, landslides and mud-and-rock flows in Xinjiang were caused by the unprecedented rainfall in most areas of the region, and the destruction of vegetation on mountainous areas.

Local meteorological departments are forecasting heavy rainfall in some areas of the region, which may hamper efforts to combat floods and carry out relief work.

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