Authorities nationwide are preparing for the season's worst floods as more rain is predicted and the casualties caused by the deluges since last week have continued to rise.
The death toll in floods which have hit China's 19 provinces this month was confirmed at 543 yesterday by China's State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
Updated statistics show that China's 19 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have suffered inundation to varying degrees. To date, 4.97 million hectares (12.28 million acres) of farmland have been flooded and 69.42 million people are affected.
The headquarters also said material damage from the flooding totaled more than 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion).
Rescue teams have been dispatched and rescue materials prepared in most of North China, flood-control officials said. The region's major flood season usually runs from July to August.
Last night, water levels were said to have reached warning levels on the Huaihe River following downpours upstream between June 19 and 21, according to the State Flood-Control and Drought-Prevention Headquarters.
At least three people were killed and property damage of 1.1 billion yuan (US$132 million) was caused in southern parts of East China's Anhui Province during last week's flooding, according to Xinhua News Agency.
(China Daily June 26, 2002)