186 dead as rivers hit danger levels

A villager wades through chest-high floodwater in Changzhou, east Chinas Jiangsu Province, yesterday. [Xinhua]

A villager wades through chest-high floodwater in Changzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province, on July 3, 2016. [Xinhua]

Floods spawned by torrential rain in China’s southern and eastern regions have left at least 186 people dead and another 45 missing, the nation’s flood headquarters said yesterday.

The extreme weather has also displaced 1.48 million people and caused 50.6 billion yuan (US$7.6 billion) in direct economic losses in 26 provincial areas, it said.

Storms have been hitting most of southern China since Thursday, pushing water levels in rivers to dangerous levels and swelling many reservoirs.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said the situation remained grave, with two more rounds of rainstorms forecast to hit southern regions over the next 10 days. Nepartak, the first typhoon of the year, is expected to bring gales and downpours to eastern coastal areas this week.

The country’s weather authority suggested people in southern areas reduce outdoor activities on rainy days and take precautions against possible floods and landslides.

Some 9,000 houses collapsed and 710,000 hectares of crops have been damaged in seven southern provinces. Combined losses have been estimated at around 9.1 billion yuan.

China’s meteorological authority yesterday renewed its orange alert, the second most serious, for heavy rain across much of the south today.

Thunderstorms will continue to affect the provinces of Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region this morning, with precipitation reaching up to 220 millimeters in some areas, the National Meteorological Center said on its website.

Meanwhile, the death toll from Friday’s landslide in southwest China’s Guizhou Province was put at 23 yesterday, with seven others injured, after everyone had been accounted for.

Intense rain triggered the landslide around 5:30am in Dafang County’s Pianpo Village, according to the local rescue headquarters.

Thirty people had been buried in the debris and more than 800 soldiers and rescuers had worked with excavators to search for the missing villagers.

The heaviest rain this year battered Hubei Province on…

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