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Death toll from torrential rains rises to 57
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Two more people were confirmed dead on Thursday as rainstorms continued to pound parts of China, bringing the death toll to 57.

The newly-confirmed deaths were reported in the worst-hit southwestern Guizhou Province, with 38 people killed by flash floods and 14 missing, followed by Hunan with seven deaths, Hubei with five, Guangxi with four and Jiangxi with three.

In Wangmo County in Guizhou, the flood darkened 17 townships and villages when electricity poles were knocked out. Around 5,000 houses collapsed and 15,000 people were affected as the death toll from torrential rains in the soaked county amounted to 13.

Two more people were confirmed dead on Thursday in the central Hubei Province. One person was killed by lightning and another in a flood, said the civil affairs department of Hubei Province.

Hubei, where all 49 counties were hit by rainstorms, has so far reported four deaths from lightning and one from flooding.

The central Hunan Province, where seven people were killed in the torrential rains, reported three more missing. They were feared buried under mud and rocks. Bulldozers were being used in the search.

In Suining County, more than 2,000 houses collapsed and 10,000 others were damaged as the heavy rain cut off the power supply and disrupted traffic and phone services.

Nearly 200,000 locals were affected.

In Kaihua, in the eastern Zhejiang Province, more than 300,000 people were affected by the flooding, the worst in the county over the past 50 years.

As of 3 p.m. on Thursday, 21,000-plus houses had reported leakage and more than 2,100 others collapsed.

In total, 486 trapped residents were rescued and more than 28,000 were evacuated.

The southern Guangdong Province reported flooding in some areas as heavy rain continued to batter the province.

In the eastern Jiangxi Province, the torrential rain affected more than 1.8 million people as 16,000-plus houses collapsed. More than 138,000 hectares of crops were damaged in the rain.

According to the provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters the weather would turn favorable on Thursday night in Jiangxi.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters launched a level-three emergency response plan on Wednesday to address possible flooding problems.

Under the plan, three inspection teams were set up to supervise the flood relief work in Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, among others.

E Jingping, secretary general of the headquarters, urged local governments to strengthen their monitoring of the floods and act to avert possible dangers.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2008)

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