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17 dead or missing as rainstorms sweep central, east, south China

2019/7/15 9:28:00   source:Xinhua

CHINA-GUANGXI-RONGAN-FLOODS-RECONSTRUCTION (CN)

Villagers clean a house damaged by floods at Jiangbei Village of Banlan Township, Rongan County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region,July 14, 2019. A series of reconstructing and rescuing works have been done since Rong'an was hit by heavy rains recently. (Xinhua/Huang Xiaobang)

At least 17 people were killed or missing and thousands evacuated as torrential downpours unleashed floods and toppled houses in central, eastern and southern China.

The National Meteorological Center on Sunday renewed a blue alert for rainstorms, predicting heavy rain in Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Yunnan, Sichuan provinces, as well as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region.

Some of those regions will see up to 120 mm of torrential rainfall, it said.

China has a color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

As of 8 a.m. Sunday, at least 17 people died or were reported missing following rain-triggered floods in central Hunan Province, which also forced more than 470,000 people to be relocated and 179,000 were in urgent need of aid.

Four hydrometric stations along the Yangtze River in Xianning city, central Hubei Province, have reported the river water reaching or surpassing a level that can activate local anti-flood work.

In eastern Anhui Province, rain-trigged floods have affected more than 51,000 people and damaged over 2,700 hectares of crops.

The floods have forced the evacuation of 926 people, and caused a direct economic loss of more than 59.6 million yuan (8.66 million U.S. dollars) in the province.

As of Saturday noon, 330,000 people in 18 counties of Jiangxi Province have been affected by rainstorm-triggered floods, with over 10,500 residents relocated.

Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater lake in the lower reaches of the Yangtze, is swelling above the alarming level, according to the hydrographic department in Jiangxi.

The water level of the lake reached 20.08 meters as of 8 a.m. Saturday, 1.08 m above the warning level, as recorded by Xingzi Hydrometric Station on the lake.

In south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, rainstorm has affected more than 360,000 people as of 5 p.m. Sunday, damaging over 35,000 hectares of crops, according to the region's emergency management department.

The disastrous weather in Guangxi has prompted the region to activate a level-II emergency response and send special work teams and relief materials to the ravaged areas.

In some of the disaster-hit towns, flood water from subterranean rivers has inundated roads.

"After torrential downpours, waters on mountains and underground rivers converge into low-lying lands, which may lead to waterlogging. In affected villages, the water depth in some people's houses can exceed two meters," said Liao Bin, an official with Jiuwei Town, Hechi City.

Local authorities have dispatched boats and wooden rafts to transfer the stranded people, set up temporary relocation sites, and deliver living supplies to blocked villages.

Since June, the southwestern province of Guizhou has allocated a total of 16.5 million yuan for its hardest-hit 16 counties.

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