Floods, landslides take tough toll
2003-09-22 10:46:02

This year has seen some unusually horrific natural disasters, with 1,911 deaths so far and economic losses of 151 billion yuan (US$18 billion), the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Sunday.

Natural disasters including floods and landslides have caused more than 6.3 million people to be relocated and 2.6 million houses to collapse, said Yang Yanyin, vice-minister of civil affairs.

The ministry has sent more than 40 working groups and 2.7 billion yuan (US$325 million) in relief funds to disaster-stricken areas to help in rescue work.

In Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, the fourth crest in the Weihe River which is the largest tributary of the Yellow River, passed Huaxian County yesterday morning with a water level of 341.85 metres, forcing more than 9,000 local residents to flee from their homes on Saturday.

From Wednesday night till Saturday, heavy rains hit central and southern parts of Shaanxi with several rivers flooding, according to the Shaanxi Flood Prevention Headquarters.

In the early morning of Saturday, the Weihe River broke through embankments and flooded into already flooded areas from a week ago, with the water level raised by a metre, according to officials.

On Friday, flooding from the Bahe River, a tributary of Weihe, broke through three parts of Bahe's embankments in Lantian County, some 50 kilometres east of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi, and the water nearly entered the county seat, the headquarters said.

Meanwhile, heavy rains caused landslides in Xi'an's Chang'an District, and 75 local farmers had to move to safer places Saturday morning, officials said.

Landslides also occurred in southern Shaanxi and threatened Ningshaan, a county badly suffering from floods and landslides two weeks ago. About 1,000 local residents had to leave for higher ground on Friday.



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