The Heat Is Online

South China Flooding Leaves Nearly 400 People Dead

Death toll in flood-stricken China nears 400

Workers attempt to repair broken dyke as heavy rains persist

Reuters, June 27, 2010

BEIJING — Workers struggled to repair a broken dyke in south China where persistent heavy rains and devastating floods have so far left at least 379 people dead, state media and government agencies said.
Bulldozers dumped rocks and soil to repair a breach in the dykes hemming in the Fu River, in Jiangxi province, which forced over 100,000 people from their homes earlier this week.
More water may be on its way, as a flood crest passed through Xiang River in Hunan Province, making its way to the swollen Yangtze River.
"In some villages and counties along the Xiang River, farmlands and homes are flooded," Jiang Yongpeng, an official at the Hunan Environmental Protection Bureau, told Reuters.
The waters of the Yangtze and other south China rivers normally run high in the summer, due to a combination of snowmelt from the Tibetan plateau and torrential rains in southern China.
State media is drawing parallels between this year's floods and those of the summer of 1998, which burst some of the main levees along the Yangtze, inundated major cities, killed at least 3,700 people and left about 15 million people temporarily homeless.
So far, this summer's floods have resulted in direct economic losses of $12.13 billion, Xinhua news agency said, citing the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
Heavy rains have left one dead and toppled 1,358 houses in southern Guangdong Province, Xinhua said citing the local flood control authority.
In southeastern Fujian Province, which has seen some of the heaviest damage, several rivers are still at "alarming" levels on early Saturday, with more intense rain forecast, Xinhua reported.
Copyright 2010 Reuters

Floods kill 115 in southern China

21 people still missing as rains begin to subside

The Associated Press, May 25, 2010

BEIJING - A torrent of floods caused by heavy storms have killed 115 people in southern China, with 21 people still missing as weather reports show rains beginning to subside.

Emergency rescue teams have been dispatched across southern China to help the 685,000 people evacuated as a result of the flooding, which has caused $2.2 billion in damages, a statement on the Ministry of Civil Affairs website said.

But one official said Tuesday that the worst may be over.

"The rain was pretty severe earlier, but now the weather is improving," said the official surnamed Chen who answered the phone at the Hunan Water Bureau information office. Like many Chinese officials he would give only his surname.

China's rainy season, which began this month, follows the worst drought in a century for southern China's Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi regions. The drought affected 61 million people, leaving millions without drinking water and 12 million acres left barren since last year.

The floods hit 13 provinces, including Guangdong, Sichuan and Zhejiang, and damaged more than 80,000 homes and affected more than 10 million people, said a statement posted on the State Flood Control and Disaster Relief Headquarters website.

China's huge land mass means severe storms can cause floods in one region, while other parts of the country can experience drought.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.