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26 Dead, 8.19 Mln Affected in SW China Flood
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Floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains have killed at least 26 people and left 17 missing in southwest China's Sichuan Province since Monday night, the local government said on Saturday.

The disaster has affected 8.19 million people in 43 cites and counties across the province, it said.

Over the past week, more than 44 reported rainfall volume exceeding 100 millimeters, with Nanjiang County the highest at 542 millimeters.

In Guang'an, a city in eastern Sichuan, the rain volume topped 200 millimeters, swelled local rivers and caused flooding of urban area.

In Quxian County, two-third of its districts were flooded, cutting water, electricity and gas supply for 183,000 downtown households.

So far, 320,000 people in the flood-hit areas have been evacuated to safe places and the rescue and relief work are still underway.

The flood also destroyed 20,000 houses and 3.6 million mu (240,000 hectares) crop land. Meanwhile, traffic was cut on 76 highways and 441 km of electricity supply lines were damaged.

The total economic loss is estimated at three billion yuan (US$395 million).

The provincial meteorological bureau has forecast further rainstorms in the next week in Bazhong, Guang'an and five other cities in eastern Sichuan as well as some areas on the western plateau.

The neighboring Chongqing Municipality has also suffered from heavy rain since Wednesday. The municipal meteorological bureau warned the public to be aware of flood, landslide and mud-rock flow risks.

Meanwhile, forecasters have warned that the upper reaches of the Huaihe River, which runs through east China, had reached critical levels.

So far, floods in south, east and central China had caused more than 200 deaths and destroyed over 110,000 houses while droughts in the north had left at least 7.4 million people short of drinking water, according to the flood and drought prevention authorities.

(Xinhua News Agency July 8, 2007)

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