Rains, floods leave 180 dead or missing
A week of floods and landslides triggered by torrential rain across southern and central China has left about 120 people dead and a further 63 missing.
Fang Zhiyong, head of the Ministry of Civil Affairs' disaster preparedness division, said damage was on a huge scale.
"Affecting more than 9.7 million people, the disaster has so far forced 300,000 locals to be evacuated from parts of Hunan, Guangdong, Chongqing, Guizhou and Sichuan since last Tuesday," he told China Daily yesterday.
By yesterday morning, damage had reached a record 3.17 billion yuan (US$381.9 million), said Fang. "The damage has been worse this year than during flooding last year because this time the rain came earlier, leaving many locals unprepared," he added.
To help those made homeless by the disaster, the central government has provided 50,000 tents and sent emergency funds to Hunan and Guizhou, two of the worst-affected areas.
More than 76,000 houses have been washed away and 230,000 others seriously damaged by floods and landslides over the past week.
In addition, some 510,000 hectares of farmland were flooded.
In Central China's Hunan, one of the worst-hit provinces, the death toll has risen to 87 with 46 missing while in Guizhou, 30 deaths have been reported.
But, sources with the Ministry of Civil Affairs denied there had been any cases of typhoid or diarrhea in Hunan's flood-stricken areas as claimed by the local media.
"We have no reports of such diseases so far," Fang said.
(China Daily 06/07/2005 page2)