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Rain, floods take their toll in C China

Updated: 2011-06-10 19:14
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Rain, floods take their toll in C China
A mountainside collapses after being battered by ongoing torrential rains in Zhanqiao township, Linxiang city, Central China's Hunan province, June 10, 2011. The landslides, which occurred during the early hours of Friday, have claimed 15 lives and left 25 missing. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - Rain and floods battered central and eastern China Thursday night and Friday, killing 44 people and leaving 33 others missing in the provinces of Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi.

Torrential rains triggered floods and landslides that toppled homes and destroyed river embankments in Hubei's city of Xianning, killing 20 people and leaving five others missing, a spokesman with the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said Friday.

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Meanwhile, nearly 100,000 people were stranded by floods in three of Xianning's counties, including Tongcheng, Chibi and Chongyang, the spokesman said.

Xianning was hit by rain and floods from 8 pm Thursday to 5 am Friday.

In Tongcheng County, precipitation topped 300 mm within four hours, a record volume. The entire county was virtually submerged Friday, with more than 60,000 residents left stranded. Fifty-thousand of them were evacuated by Friday morning.

Flood waters measured more than 2 meters deep in Tongcheng's low-lying areas. Traffic in the county seat was paralyzed, as flood waters in the area measured between 60 to 90 cm deep.

Electricity and telephone services in Tongcheng have been cut off by the floods. More than 300 people living downstream from one of the county's reservoirs had to evacuate after the reservoir was overwhelmed by the floods.

In Chibi, 110,000 people were evacuated to safety after floods there toppled homes and destroyed river embankments.

Floods also killed two people in the nearby city of Huanggang, said a spokesman with Hubei's civil affairs department.

In neighboring Hunan Province, 19 people died and another 28 are still missing after rain-triggered landslides occurred during the early hours of Friday in the cities of Linxiang and Yueyang.

Rain-triggered floods also wreaked havoc in eastern China's Jiangxi Province. By noon, rescuers had rescued 1,200 trapped residents in Xiushui County, where 27,000 have been evacuated to escape rising waters.

Three people, including a child, died after their homes were crushed by landslides in the county.

The downpours between 1 am to 6 am Friday have cut off traffic in 18 townships and disrupted power supplies in five others.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National Disaster Reduction Committee Friday activated an emergency plan to fight floods and sent two work teams to Hubei and Hunan to assist with the disaster relief operations.

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