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Seven Missing in Sichuan Rainstorms and Typhoon Nears Taiwan
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Seven people have been reported missing in the last three days following heavy rainstorms in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the local government confirmed Sunday.

Five people went missing and at least 500 were evacuated from areas hit by mountain torrents and mud-rock flows Saturday in Wenchuan County of the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, the provincial office for disaster relief said. Two others were reported missing in Yingjing County of Ya'an, they reported.

The atrocious weather also damaged two power stations and cut off communications in Wenchuan.

The heaviest rainfall in the Sichuan Basin this year began Friday night and hit eight cities including the provincial capital Chengdu, Deyang, Mianyang, Leshan and Yibin, the provincial meteorological bureau said.

Jiangyou city in Mianyang was the worst hit with 163 millimeters of rainfall by Sunday morning and the volume of rain had topped 100 millimeters in five other counties, the bureau stated. 

The rain has cooled the sauna-like weather which has hung over the southwestern province in the past few weeks and the maximum daytime temperature dropped to 28 degrees Celsius Sunday.

The provincial disaster relief office has sent rescue teams to the flood-hit areas.

Also on Sunday meteorologists said typhoon Kaemi, the fifth of the year, was approaching Taiwan.

Kaemi was located at latitude 19.6 north and longitude 126.1 east in seawaters 700 kilometers southeast of Taiwan's Hualien at 5 PM Sunday. It’s moving towards the island at a speed of 15 to 20 kph. 

The typhoon is expected to land on northern Fujian or southern Zhejiang on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. It’ll bring rainstorms to south and east China's Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces.

Drawing on the lessons learned from Bilis local governments are drafting plans to recall fishermen at sea, check and protect reservoirs, monitor for potential floods and landslides and arrange evacuation of people where required. 

(Xinhua News Agency July 24, 2006)


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