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Torrential rains kill at least 27 in China

21 september 2011, 11:03
Paramilitary police pull a rescue boat carrying residents to a safer area along a flooded street in China. ©Reuters
Paramilitary police pull a rescue boat carrying residents to a safer area along a flooded street in China. ©Reuters
At least 27 people have died and dozens are missing after torrential rains and flooding in north and southwest China forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes, AFP reports, citing state press Monday.

Unprecedented rains since last Friday have swamped huge portions of Sichuan province in China's southwest, with the region braced for further disaster as downpours continue and rivers swell, Xinhua news agency said.

Officials in Sichuan's Dazhou and Guangan regions have ordered the evacuation of over 600,000 people as major tributaries to the Yangtze, China's longest river, surpass dangerous levels, it said.

The Jialing river had already risen above alert levels by nearly seven metres (23 feet) and waters were expected to rise to the highest levels since record keeping began in 1847, the report said.

Since Friday, torrential rains have left 13 people dead and 10 missing in three northeastern Sichuan counties, it said.

The floods and rains have led to the collapse of over 2,000 homes and damage to 10,000 others, it added.

Meanwhile in Shaanxi province, just north of Sichuan, the toll from a massive Saturday rain-triggered landslide rose to at least 14 dead and 18 missing, Xinhua said in a separate dispatch.

The fatalities occurred when thousands of tonnes of rock and mud buried a brick factory and parts of a ceramics plant in the Banqiao district of the provincial capital of Xian, the report said.

China is hit by big downpours every summer. Last year saw the nation's worst flooding in a decade, leaving more than 4,300 people dead or missing.

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