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Clean-up Begins in 19 Flood-hit Provinces

Major rescue operations are in full swing in all 19 provinces and municipalities affected by severe flooding this month in an effort to keep losses as low as possible, the state flood-control headquarters announced Monday.

The provinces affected include the northwestern province of Shaanxi, the central provinces of Hunan and Hubei, the southwestern regions of Chongqing and Sichuan, and the southern regions of Guangxi and Fujian, which have all been inundated to varying degrees.

The Chinese government has begun pouring huge resources into rescue efforts. Flood-control headquarters and the ministries of Water Resources and Civil Affairs have dispatched working groups to these flooded areas to lead the clean-up.

The Ministry of Finance has allocated rescue funds to all thoseflood-hit provinces.

So far, people in the worst-hit areas in Shaanxi and Fujian provinces have received temporary accommodation. The railways and highways washed out by floods have been repaired and reopened to traffic.

The cities of Nanchong and Suining are among the worst-hit areas in southwestern Sichuan province. Floods in there have forced local residents out from their homes and destroyed lush-green standing crops.

Refugees there have been relocated and crop planting has been resumed.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has allocated five million yuan (600,000 US dollars) to Sichuan for rescue works and the Sichuan provincial government has contributed another 13 million yuan (1.57 million US dollars). So far, all funds have been distributed toflooded areas.

The government of Tibet Autonomous Region has donated one million yuan (120,000 US dollars) to Sichuan. A Taiwan-based food group also donated 250,000 yuan (30,000 US dollars) as well as food worth 250,000 yuan to Suining.

Meanwhile, the provincial Red Cross Society has dispatched 46 medical groups to flood-affected areas in Sichuan and the state Red Cross Society, together with the Hong Kong Red Cross Society, has donated rescue materials worth 500,000 yuan (60,000 US dollars)to the province.

Since the beginning of the flood season, China has experienced three large-scale rainfalls. From June 7 to 11, its northwest and southwest regions as well as the Pearl River Valley saw daily precipitation of up to 100 millimeters.

During that time, Fuping County of northwest China's Shaanxi province received 489 millimeters of rainfall in a single day.

From June 13 to 17, all south China had heavy rainfall. Some areas in the provinces and autonomous regions of Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi and Fujian received up to 500 millimeters.

From June 17 to 21, the Yangtze River Valley and the area to its northeast received up to 300 millimeters of rain.

Water levels in the Xijiang River, a major branch of south China's Pearl River, however, have begun to drop. And water levels of the Yangtze River mainstream, Poyang and Dongting lakes have not exceeded warning levels.

(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2002)

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