Wednesday, July 21, 2010

China flooding causes worst death toll in decade

The Guardian (UK) via the Associated Press: Flooding in China this year has killed 701 people, left 347 missing and caused billions of pounds in damage, a senior Chinese official has said. Three-quarters of China's provinces have been hit by flooding and 25 rivers have seen record high water levels, causing the worst death toll in a decade, Liu Ning, general secretary of the government's flood prevention agency, told a news conference.

Aside from the dead and missing, 645,000 houses were toppled and overall damage totalled 142.2bn yuan (£13.7bn). All the figures, Liu said, were the highest China had seen since 2000. With the flood season far from over, this year is shaping up to be one of the most devastating since 1998, which was the worst in 50 years.

Flooding, particularly along the Yangtze river basin, has overwhelmed reservoirs, swamped towns and cities, and broken off hillsides causing landslides that have smothered communities. Soldiers have been using bulldozers to plough through debris in search of survivors from separate landslides in Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, while workers in other parts of the country scrambled to drain overflowing reservoirs and pile up sandbags to prevent further flooding, the official Xinhua news agency reported….

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