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Heavy Rain in S. China Leaves 7 Dead
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Torrential rain in southern China killed seven people and affected the lives of more than 1 million during the week-long May Day holiday, civil affairs officials said yesterday.

Two people drowned and 412 houses were destroyed in the city of Yangjiang in Guangdong Province, causing a direct economic loss of 98 million yuan (US$12 million), according to the provincial headquarters of wind, flood and drought control.

Heavy rain also hit areas around Maoming, Enping and Zhanjiang in the province, submerging villages and farmland as well damaging some irrigation facilities, officials said.

Five more people were killed and nine others remain missing in Guizhou and Hunan provinces, reports said.

The situation in southern China is under control and no further casualty reports have been received, according to Li Baojun, an official in charge of disaster relief with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) in Beijing.

The ministry requires local authorities report disasters such as floods within 2 hours of occurrence, Li said.

For most parts of southern China the rainy season does not come until June, Li said, adding that many other places have to fight droughts rather than floods.

Heavy rainfall in the near future may cause further floods and disasters such as landslides in some parts of the south, meteorologist warned.

"Heavy rain, which means more than 50 millimeters of precipitation within 24 hours, is forecast in areas south of the Yangtze River in the next 48 hours," said Yang Guiming, an expert with the China Meteorological Administration.

After that, the rain will move in a southerly direction, Yang said.

(China Daily May 9, 2006)



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