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17 killed in mudslides, cyclones and lightning
By Liang Chao (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-07 02:10

At least 17 people were killed and nine others wounded by mudslides, mountain torrents, lightening strikes and gale-force winds over the past two days in Yunnan, Guangdong and Shaanxi provinces and the Tibet and Guangxi autonomous regions.

Two deaths were confirmed Tuesday in mudslides on Monday in Yingjiang and Longchuan counties in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, according to reports reaching Beijing Tuesday.

The mudslides caused by heavy rains and consequent flooding on local rivers running through the two counties buried at least eight people with more than 400 others stranded since the wee hours of Monday.

By press time Tuesday, one person was still missing in Longchuan where more than 2,000 hectares of crops were buried, 3,000 houses collapsed and more than 26,000 residents made homeless by the disaster.

Also on Saturday, two road men were buried and died after a mud-rock flow hit their work site in Lang County in Linzi Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region.

In Guangdong Province, lightening strikes claimed five people and injured four others during frequently occurred thunderstorms, Nangfang Daily reported.

"Lightening storms are predicted to continue into the next days in Guangdong following the fade of typhoon Mindulle," local weather officials said, warning people not to seek shelter from rain under isolated trees in open areas.

Annually, thunder storms occur on an average of 80 days in Guangdong, they said, adding that, last year, 48 people were killed with 39 others injured in 57 reported lightning strikes.

In the neighbouring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, eight people were killed and four others wounded by mountain floods in the past two days, Xinhua reported.

A sudden rain storm resulted in mountain torrents and a landslide in the Liangjiang township of Wuming County in the suburbs of Nanning, capital of Guangxi, on Saturday night, leaving four people dead and two others injured, officials from the Guangxi Office of Flood-control and Drought-relief said.

Flooding occurred again on Sunday with four more people killed and another two suffered slight wounds. A workshop at a brass mine was destroyed.

The injured were hospitalized and the local authority has started to verify the identities of the dead.

Rescue work is in progress.

On Monday, a sudden and violent gale hit a town in northwest China's Shaanxi province, injuring two locals.

Qin Chunhua, a local villager passing by a school, was seriously wounded in the head by a falling wall. A 6-year-old boy was also injured by a falling telephone pole.

The strong wind, lasting six minutes, toppled walls of a primary school and 70 telephone poles, according to officials of the local government.

Witnesses told a reporter that "bicycles were swept away by the strong winds like leaves, and people on street lay down on ground to avoid being injured."

Yu Qiang, a local telecom company technician, said local telecommunications services were cut and workers were repairing the damaged poles and cables.

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