News >China

Floods inflict toll on region

2010-06-24 06:54

WUZHOU, Guangxi - Thirty-eight people died after 10 days of torrential rain in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, according to the local flood control authorities on Wednesday.

Heavy rain hit 80 counties in the autonomous region, affecting 3.5 million people and incurring 2.41 billion yuan ($354 million) in direct economic losses, including 1.02 billion yuan in the agricultural sector.

Approximately 164,580 hectares of farmland were also swallowed by the floodwater, while 16,395 houses collapsed and another 21,795 were damaged.

Among the deaths, one person drowned, four died when buildings collapsed and 32 were victims of landslides and other geological disasters caused by the heavy rain.

According to the local flood control authorities, 210,300 people have been evacuated from the region.

Fifteen out of 93 monitored sections of rivers and lakes in Guangxi exceeded normal warning levels as of 6 pm on Wednesday, according to the autonomous region's water resources department.

Residents in some of the flood-ravaged areas have already begun to reconstruct irrigation facilities and to rebuild their homes.

"My fellow villagers heard that my home was destroyed by the flood and then came to lend a hand rebuilding it. I was moved," said Yang Hong, a resident of Wangdong township in Rongshui Miao autonomous county.

Local authorities in Wuzhou city, one of the hardest hit areas in Guangxi in the disaster, began to organize reconstruction efforts on Wednesday. Temporary dwellings have been offered to those who lost their homes and the evacuees now have access to fresh drinking water, local officials said.

The 20 million mobile phone users in the autonomous region have been able to receive text message alerts keeping them abreast of the situation in less than half an hour of the information being released by the meteorological authorities.

The mobile alerts were initiated by Guo Shengkun, Party chief of the autonomous region, who also recently required the meteorological authorities to provide more detailed forecasts.

According to local meteorologists, Guangxi was forecast to receive less rain on Wednesday, though a fresh burst of heavy rain is expected to lash the region from Thursday through Saturday.

The National Meteorological Centre has also warned that the rain currently pelting parts of South China may continue until Saturday.

Heavy rain across South, East and Central China over the past week has killed 211 people and left 119 missing as rivers broke their banks and landslides severed road and rail links, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Wednesday.

Zheng Yan and Huang Zhaohua contributed to this story.

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