CHINA> Regional
Storms and downpours sweep China, killing at least 50
Updated: 2009-06-08 22:10

TAIYUAN - One person was killed in north China's Shanxi province, bringing the death toll of rains and storms since last Wednesday to 50, according to officials on Monday.

A 17-year-old girl was killed on Sunday evening, when a landslide hit the Xiaofu village of Jichang township in Shanxi. Villagers there live in traditional cave houses, and the girl was killed as she was escaping, said an official with the Jixian County weather bureau. Other dwellers were evacuated. The rainfall total reached 81.8 millimeters, said the official.

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Storms hit Shanxi from last Wednesday, where maximum wind speed reached 27.5 meters per second in Yuncheng in southern Shanxi.

In the Lingqiu county of Datong city, thunderstorm and hail damaged 32,588 houses and about 8,436.3 hectares of crops.

The disaster relief office in eastern Anhui Province said 21 people were killed by falling trees, collapsed roofs or shipwrec. Four were missing and 215 others were injured.

The storms also destroyed 15,700 houses and damaged 90,400 others, which led to the relocation of about 7,000 people to the homes of relatives or friends. Crops on 205,400 hectares of farmland were damaged, according to the office.

The civil affair department in central Henan Province reported four more deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 24.

Shandong and Jiangsu provinces were also hit by the storm from last Wednesday, but casualties are not clear yet.

In the southwestern Guizhou province, torrential rain since Sunday triggered a landslide, killing four people in the Daozhen county of Zunyi city, where the rainfall total reached 84.4 millimeters, and injuring another one. A total of 669 houses were damaged, among which 30 collapsed.

The rain destroyed about 367 hectares of crops, forced evacuation of 712 people.

In the central Hubei Province, some 624,500 people in seven counties and cities were affected by thunderstorm, among whom three were injured and 654 were relocated.

Beijing saw the heaviest rain this summer on Monday, the second and last day of the annual college entrance exam.

The power supply at the Chan King-Luen Middle School in the Chaoyang district was cut by a lightening strike at 1:19 p.m. It was resumed 28 minutes later. As the exam on Monday afternoon was scheduled between 3 to 5 p.m., the accident did not affect the students.

Another 137 schools used for the entrance exam were not affected.

To ensure the smooth running of the exam, Beijing added 200 more buses and sent 5,000 volunteers to bus stops to maintain order.