Floods triggered by continuous torrential rain have left 17 people dead and six others missing in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, local authorities said Monday.
Rainstorms have pounded Guangxi since last Wednesday when Typhoon Hagupit slammed into the neighboring Guangdong Province, affecting the lives of 6.5 million people. Some 678,000 people were forced to evacuate, according to the Guangxi autonomous regional department of civil affairs.
Downpours and floods have damaged 86,000 houses and inundated 437,000 hectares if cropland. Direct economic losses were estimated at 3.6 billion yuan (529 million U.S. dollars), the department said.
In Fusui County, the disasters have left one person dead, affected 233,000 residents and caused an evacuation of 68,900 others. Water conservation facilities, highways, reservoirs and embankments were all damaged.
In the Zuojiang River in the county, the water level reached 87.48 meters on Monday morning, 5.66 meters above the river's warning level.
Chongzuo City of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is flooded, September 28, 2008. [Xinhua]
According to Guangxi regional hydrological bureau's prediction, the water level would reach 89 meters while the anti-flood embankment was 88.69 meters high.
More than 2,800 people, including government officials, police staff and volunteers, were mobilized to reinforce the embankment on Sunday. But there is still a 20-meter gap left.
"Once water floods in, nearly 80 percent of the county will be flooded and 50,000 residents will be in danger," a local government official said.
The flood also threatened the safety of more than 10,000 people living in low-lying areas along the river.
So far, no people have been reported injured or missing.
Hagupit, the 14th strong typhoon of this year, left China on Thursday and moved into Vietnam, after killing at least 17 people in Guangdong.
(Xinhua New Agency September 30, 2008)