At least 110,000 residents have been affected by snowmelt flooding in Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the prefectural bureau of civil affairs said on Tuesday.
According to the bureau, the floods had hit eight counties and two cities as of Tuesday, destroying 12,000 rooms and 3,267 hectares of arable land and killing 3,736 head of livestock. Another 796 hectares of crops were affected in the flooding.
Heavy snowfall and extremely cold weather during the winter led to unusually deep snow accumulation in the Ili River Valley, north of the Tianshan Mountains.
Temperatures rose quickly in early March, causing the snow to melt faster than usual and leading to flooding and landslides. The situation was exacerbated by consecutive days of rain in the middle of the month.
The local government has implemented flood-control measures and has been organizing a relief operation in Ili. Cash and materials have been distributed to flood-stricken areas of the prefecture.
(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2005)