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Eleven Dead, One Missing, 100 Injured in Rainstorms in Xinjiang
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Eleven people were killed, one is missing and more than 100 were injured by rainstorms that have hit northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since last Saturday, local civil affairs sources said on Thursday.

More than 154,000 people were affected by floods and landslides triggered by the rainstorms, and 38,500 people were evacuated, according to the sources.

More than 23,000 houses were destroyed, and 12,000 hectares of crops were damaged, with direct economic losses exceeding 347 million yuan (about US$46.3 million).

Traffic on several major highways in the region has been disrupted while power supply and telecommunication systems were affected.

The regional capital Urumqi alone received an average of 63.2 mm of rainfall between 6:00 PM on Monday and 11:00 AM Tuesday, the largest volume in history, the municipal meteorological bureau said.

The heavy rain is expected to continue in the northern and eastern parts of Xinjiang on Thursday and Friday, according to the regional meteorological bureau.

In southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, more than 80 vehicles are stranded on a highway, where rainstorm caused severe cave-ins early on Thursday.

The cave-ins occurred at more than 30 locations within five kilometers on state highway No. 318 that links Tibet with the neighboring Sichuan Province, said sources with the traffic management arm of the People's Armed Police.

The accidents hollowed about 2,900 cubic meters of the highway between 3,482 and 3,487 kilometers, in the mountainous Markam County of Qamdo Prefecture in eastern Tibet.

Traffic is expected to resume at 4:00 PM on Thursday, said Li Hong, an armed police officer in charge of the road work.

Heavy rain has battered several localities in central, eastern and southwestern China this week. In Chongqing Municipality alone, 35 people are dead and 11 missing.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2007)

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