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Nine Dead in Hailstorm

Nine people died and 11 more were injured in a hailstorm which pelted Northwest China's Gansu Province on Tuesday, according to a revised toll released yesterday.

Previous reports said five people were dead and four missing after the hailstorm hit three counties.

But six people have now been confirmed dead in Zhangxian County and three in Minxian County, both in Dingxi Prefecture, said Li Jian, an official in charge of disaster relief work at Gansu Provincial Bureau of Civil Affairs, on Friday.

Authorities said about 147,000 people had been affected by the hailstorm and 2,880 head of livestock were missing. The hailstorm would cost the prefecture more than 60 million yuan (US$7.2 million).

The first batch of relief materials, including 80 tents and 200 quilts, had arrived in the affected areas in Dingxi, officials said.

They said supplies of electricity and water had been restored in the town of Chengguan, the worst hit area in the prefecture.

So far, there have been no reports of casualties or serious losses in Lanzhou, the provincial capital, which was also struck by the hailstorm on Tuesday.

A re-building programme for the disaster area was under consideration, officials said.

(China Daily July 26, 2003)

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