Torrential rains in the southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan have resulted in more deaths from floods and landslides.
The death toll in Sichuan rose to 15 after the local government confirmed six more deaths on Thursday, and two remained missing after powerful landslides and floods triggered by a continuous downpour from Monday to Wednesday.
The six newly reported victims were mostly from Miyi County of Panzhihua City in the south of the province.
The disaster affected more than 39,000 residents and destroyed farmland, traffic, electricity and communication facilities in Miyi, causing 47 million yuan (US$5.8 million) in direct economic losses, the provincial disaster-relief office said.
Three other counties of Panzhihua and Ziyang City, already coping with the pig-borne epidemic since June 24, were hit by rapid mountain torrents and mud-rock flows with nine deaths and more than 23,000 people affected.
Displaced people have been accommodated and relief materials sent to disaster-hit areas, according to the office.
A relief work team, made up of officials from Sichuan's Department of Civil Affairs, Department of Land and Resources and the provincial disaster-relief office, has arrived to assist operations.
In Xundian Hui-Yi Autonomous County of Kunming, capital of Yunnan, floods washed away seven people from Shabatang Village on Wednesday, three of whom have so far been confirmed dead and two missing, said local government sources.
Crashing floods caused by torrential rains struck at 7:20 PM as the villagers were working in the fields.
The county government organized a 200-strong rescue team to search for victims immediately after the disaster took place, and the two survivors, who were hospitalized, are now out of danger.
(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2005)