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Natural Disasters Kill at Least 715 in China
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Chongqing residents position sandbags to fight flooding in their downtown on July 19, 2007. The heaviest rainstorm in more than 100 years killed at least 37 people and left 14 missing in the mountainous city in southwest China. More than 29,500 homes collapsed and 72,000 sustained damage. [Shanghai Daily]  


Mother Nature has claimed a heavy toll in China so far this year, the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported yesterday, even as continued flooding brought in new reports of tragedy.


At least 715 people have died so far in natural disasters, and 129 people remain missing, the ministry said.


The figures, compiled through Monday, also showed that 4.45 million people were forced to leave their homes as a result of floods, landslides, droughts, gales, snowstorms and earthquakes.


More than 533,000 houses collapsed, and more than 26 million hectares of farmland were damaged.


Total direct losses amounted to 73.58 billion yuan (US$9.73 billion), the ministry said.


The government has set aside 805 million yuan so far to help the flood-stricken areas.


Authorities yesterday allocated 40 million yuan alone for flood-relief work in Chongqing Municipality in the southwest, the ministry said.


Thirty-seven people have been killed and 14 are missing following fierce rainstorms that hit Chongqing, the ministry reported yesterday.


More than 29,500 houses were destroyed, and 183,000 hectares of crops were damaged, with direct economic losses exceeding 2.4 billion yuan.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has sent four teams to flood-soaked areas, including Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, to provide medical services.


Continuous rains have triggered floods and landslides in China's southwest, central and eastern regions, leading to heavy loss of life and property.


In east China's Anhui Province yesterday, rising water in the Huaihe River forced another 67,000 people to flee their homes.


Residents evacuated in 15,300 tractors and trucks loaded with furniture, home appliances, food, bedding and livestock.


A cofferdam burst along the Huaihe in Anhui's Fengtai County, flooding five villages, authorities said yesterday.


All 2,000 residents from the villages were evacuated on Sunday, and no casualties were reported.


On Wednesday, 22 people were killed, six were reported missing and 142 were injured as rainstorms hit Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province.


The city and its surroundings received a record 180 millimeters of rainfall in three hours, Jinan's meteorological bureau said. Across the province, 32 people were reported dead and 10 were missing.


The rainstorm also cut off traffic, electricity and water supply for three hours, the government said.


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 Saturday.


More than 23,000 houses were destroyed, and 12,000 hectares of crops were damaged, with direct economic losses exceeding 347 million yuan.


(Xinhua/Shanghai Daily July 20, 2007)



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