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Eight killed by rain-fuelled disasters
( 2003-09-08 06:59) (China Daily)

Eight people were killed and four missing after flood and rainstorm-related disasters struck Southwest China's Sichuan Province and Central China's Hubei Province, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Rainstorm-triggered disasters, including mountain torrents and landslides, killed five people in the eastern part of Sichuan on Saturday and Sunday, leaving two missing, local disaster relief officials said on Sunday.

In Dazhou, three women were confirmed dead after they were swept away by mountain floods on Saturday while crossing a river.

Ren Tao, vice-director of the Disaster Reduction Office of the government of Bazhong, said about 890,000 people were affected by the storm in rural areas of the city over the past two days, where rainfall exceeded 100 millimetres in 13 hours and reached up to 179 millimeters in Tongjiang and Nanjiang counties and Bazhou region. Two people were killed and two were missing, the official said.

In another development, a sudden flood which struck a scenic mountain area near the Three Gorges Dam on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River on Saturday has left three tourists dead and two missing, according to Xinhua.

The three bodies were recovered yesterday afternoon, according to local sources.

The sources said that a group of 10 tourists were travelling in a bus operated by a local travel service in Yichang, the nearest city to the Three Gorges Dam, to tour the Sixi scenic area in Zigui County, Central China's Hubei Province, when they were in the path of the flood at 5:30 pm on Saturday at the Sandiaoshui Waterfall.

Meanwhile, flooding along the Yellow River has been continuing owing to continuous and excessive rainfall since late August.

A new wave of flooding on the Weihe River, a major branch of Yellow River, is likely to pass through Huaxian County in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province today, according to reports from the Xinhua News Agency.

The Weihe River has in the past week experienced the largest flooding on record for the past 20 years.

According to Xinhua, more than 100 villages and over 66,700 hectares of fields were submerged, with 250,000 people affected by the flooding of the Weihe River.

By 4 pm yesterday, civil affairs departments in Shaanxi had received donations from all walks of life, which included more than 1.5 million yuan (US$181,000) and 45,000 articles of clothing, according to Xinhua.

Meanwhile, the Xiaolangdi Reservoir, a major water conservation and irrigation facility on the Yellow River located in central China's Henan Province, started to discharge flood waters at 9 am on Saturday.

The reservoir stored an additional 2.11 billion cubic metres of water in a matter of 10 days from August 25 to September 5.

The water level in the reservoir reached 246 metres by 8 am on Saturday, close to the alarm level of 248 metres.

If the reservoir did not promptly discharge the water, the level would likely have hit 248 metres by today, the report said.

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