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Flood-hit Region on Disease Alert

Heavy downpours continued to sweep the south and east parts of China on Wednesday. In east China's Jiangxi Province rain inundated 40 counties and cities, affecting 4.5 million people.

Rainstorms have hit various parts of Jiangxi since June 13, pushing the water levels in many rivers above danger lines.

The embankment of Fuhe River broke on June 17, inundating more than 300 hectares of farmland in Jinxi County and making 2,000 people homeless.

The local government sent 2,000 troops and 270 armed police to rescue people from the flood waters.

Weather forecasts say more rain is expected Thursday night and Friday.

In Beijing, disease control authorities are well prepared to send aid to flood-stricken areas to prevent possible epidemic outbreaks.

"We are keeping regular contact with provincial health departments through hot lines," said an official with the Ministry of Health.

The official said they Wednesday sent 200 bags of chlorine powder for water purification to northwest China's Shaanxi, a province heavily hit by downpours 10 days ago.

Health authorities in the flood-stricken area in Shaanxi Province have so far managed to prevent any serious disease outbreaks, sources with the provincial relief team said Wednesday.

Heavy rain swept the southern part of Shaanxi from June 8 to 10, causing serious flooding that killed more than 150 people and left 300 missing. Some 5.1 million people were affected.

Immediately after the disaster was reported, huge amounts of medicine and chlorine were sent by all means of transport, including helicopter, to the affected area. Medical teams were sent as well to ensure the safety of drinking water, food and dwellings.

But a provincial official said there are still some problems in getting preventive drugs to flood-hit areas in time.

He said this is especially true "in mountainous areas, where the drugs must be transported manually because transportation routes have been cut."

Wednesday, eleven trucks loaded with disaster relief supplies donated by private companies left from Xi'an, the provincial capital, for Shaanxi's southern regions, which were ravaged by floods a number of days ago.

Coordinated by the Xi'an Federation of Industry and Commerce, 35 non-state-owned enterprises joined the government's relief work.

More than 260,000 yuan (US$31,000) worth of food and clothing has been donated.

In addition, the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has opened a bank account for public donations to help deal with the havoc caused by flooding.

The provinces of Shaanxi, Sichuan, Hubei and Guizhou and Chongqing Municipality suffered heavy losses from the floods caused by torrential downpours earlier this month.

In accordance with RCSC regulations, a hotline with the number 010-65139999 has been opened for donation information.

(China Daily June 20, 2002)

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