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Tropical storm sweeps China

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Heavy downpours are continuing to batter large parts of the country. Nine provinces and municipalities have been affected, including Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Hubei, Chongqing, and Sichuan. The storm has caused 39 deaths so far and 13 are reported missing. North China and cities in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River have been hardest-hit.

Erdos in Inner Mongolia in northern China has long been known for its beautiful grassland and wool industry. But since last Sunday, it's been hit by major downpours and hailstorms. Many lowland areas in the city are flooded with water. Some old and dilapidated buildings have collapsed in the storm. Some residents are trapped in their homes.

Heavy rain flooded roads in Shandong province. [CFP]

Heavy rain flooded roads in Shandong province. [CFP]

Relief workers have been using canoes to reach residents trapped in buildings. Some climbed onto roofs and removed tiles to get people out. By Monday noon, the water level in the city had receded and traffic had returned to normal. But a large number of buildings and roads have been left damaged.

"During the storm, we carried out evacuation operations. 45 people in our neighborhood have been transferred to nearby hotels," said the Erdos Kelun Neighborhood Management Office.

In the hotel, survivors recall the terrifying moment when the storm hit. "I dialed the emergency rescue number when my house suddenly filled with water. Public security people came immediately and smashed the windows, and saved my grandmother and me," local student Wang Yu said.

According to local authorities, residents will move back home after their houses are repaired. More rain is forecast in the days ahead, though it's not expected to be as strong.

Tongnan county in southwestern Chongqing Municipality was hit by a major thunderstorm on Monday, resulting in a surge in river water levels. Many villages were innudated and turned into isolated islands.

In one household, a family including two 90-year-old relatives were trapped on the second floor. The three members of the family were successfully rescued.

Relief workers have had to race against time to try to reach every building in the area. By Tuesday, more than 6,000 villagers in the county had been rescued.

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