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Four Regions Struck in Series of Disasters

A series of deadly accidents including a pair of mine blast, a fire, a landslide and rainstorms occurred on Thursday and Friday across China, leaving more than a dozen dead, injured or missing, local officials said on Friday. 

A total of 12 miners were killed in a coal mine explosion in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province on Thursday night.


The second blast occurred at 11 pm at the Xinxing Coal Mine in Qitaihe in the same province, when 50 people were working at the scene.


The other 38 miners were rescued and are safe now, according to the provincial administration of coal mine safety supervision. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.


Meanwhile, in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, a commercial building in the downtown area of Tongguan County caught fire on Thursday morning, leaving three people dead and one missing.


The fire started in a supermarket on the first floor of the newly built five-story Jiyuan Building. The supermarket had just opened for business on May 2.


As Tongguan had no fire trucks, the fire was not put out until four hours later with the help of nearby counties in the province and detachments from two cities in neighboring Shanxi and Henan provinces respectively.


A local police officer revealed that the building was not equipped with adequate fire-fighting equipment.


At noon on the same day, a landslide swept away three residential buildings in Xiushan County in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, leaving 11 villagers missing.


Over 20 households were relocated to safe places as the landslide, bringing nearly 12 million cubic meters of mud and rock, is still not yet under control, said Jin Zhu, an official from Xiushan County.


So far, more than 200 police officers, soldiers, and medical workers have been sent to help with the rescue work.


In a related development, a catastrophic flood struck Yunan County in the western part of Guangdong Province on Thursday morning, causing heavy property damage in the rural area.


At least two people were seriously injured as the flood, caused by heavy rainfalls over the past two days, affected more than 35,000 farmers in 30 villages in Yunan County.


A large number of domestic animals and poultry were killed, including 120 pigs and more than 50,000 chickens, ducks and geese, according to local government report.


River dykes measuring a length of more than 3 kilometers, in addition to eight bridges and many sections of local highways were breached by the heavy floods.


Two schools in Songgui Township had to suspend classes because of the flooding.


Water and electrical utilities in some townships of the county were also cut off.


The direct economic loss has been estimated at more than 12 million yuan (US$1.45 million).


The Guangdong provincial government has sent a relief team to the flood-affected areas to help with the rescue work.


The victims have been provided with enough food and clothes by local governments, officials said.


Meanwhile, Guangzhou, provincial capital of Guangdong, was also hit by the storm on Friday.


Many streets in the downtown areas were flooded, causing heavy traffic jams.


Many billboards and trees were also blown down or uprooted.


More than 6,200 passengers were stranded in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport when as many as 70 scheduled flights were cancelled or delayed because of the storm on Friday.


And at least 400 other people were reported to have missed their trains after they failed to reach railway stations on time.


The city had to raise a red flood-warning signal on Friday, the first time this year.


The flooding is not expected to recede until next week when the heavy rain stops, according to a local meteorological service.


But flood control officials warned that the Pearl River and its tributaries have entered into the flood season, which would further threaten the southern province.


(China Daily May 15, 2004)

Tempest Hits Guangdong
Eleven Missing in Chongqing Landslide
5.29 Billion Yuan Allocated for Disaster Relief in 2003
State Urges Mines to Improve Safety
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