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Survivors count the cost as floods kill 72
By Cao Desheng in Beijing and Huang Zhiling in Sichuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-12 05:51

Torrential rains in eastern and southwestern China have triggered floods killing at least 72 and causing billions of yuan worth of damage.

In Sichuan Province, Southwest China, the rains which started almost two weeks ago have led to the deaths of 72 people across 89 counties with 30 others still missing.

Almost 9.2 million people in the province have been affected and direct economic losses so far stand at 4.9 billion yuan (US$492 million).

Farmers in the province's Dazhou city are facing harvest failure after the inundation of 122,667 hectares of farmland. Total losses for the city's agriculture industry were estimated at 1.3 billion yuan (US$157 million), according to the disaster relief office of Sichuan's provincial government.

In East China's Anhui Province, deluges resulted in economic losses of 400-million-yuan (US$48 million), local government officials said yesterday.

More than 400,000 hectares of farmland in 20 counties have been inundated since the downpours hit the province last Monday, said Xiao Luan, an official from the provincial department of water resources.

"So far, no casualties have been reported, but the deluges have ruined more than 1,400 houses in flood-prone areas, leaving thousands of people homeless," Xiao said.

The water level at the Xixian County Hydrologic Station on the mainstream of the Huaihe River, reached 42.92 metres at 8 am yesterday, 1.42 metres above the danger level.

The Huaihe River cuts across China between the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, running through Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces. The areas along the river are historically prone to floods and droughts.

According to the China Central Meteorological Observatory, rains in the flood-hit areas along the Huaihe River should let-up from today.

As well as Anhui and Sichuan, Henan, Jiangsu and Hubei are also suffering floods.

Two power stations under construction in Zhuxi County in Hubei Province, Central China, were reported inundated on Sunday.

On Sunday, Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu urged local governments to adopt measures to control surging floods in the Huaihe River.

(China Daily 07/12/2005 page2)

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