China warns of floods, rains as millions face misery

June 20th, 2011 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, June 20 (IANS) The Chinese government has warned of severe floods following heavy rains even as over five million people have already been displaced or affected by floods in east and south China.

Chinese Minister for Water Resources Chen Lei warned Sunday of the severe floods triggered by heavy rains, the Shanghai Daily reported Monday.

Flooding in eastern and southern China this month has left over 170 people dead or missing. Roads and railways have been blocked, but aid supplies are arriving.

Torrential rain has left vast areas of Hubei and Zhejiang provinces under water, with over 432,200 hectares of farmland inundated.

As per data from Zhejiang’s flood control headquarters, till Sunday morning, 2.66 million people had been affected by continuous rainstorms in 545 townships of 50 counties in the province.

Over 7,000 homes collapsed or were otherwise damaged. A total of 171,000 hectares of crops were destroyed and 989 enterprises were shut down, incurring 4.96 billion yuan ($751.5 million) in direct economic losses, said the local government.

The downpour triggered a mudslide that buried houses and killed two people in Zhejiang’s Changshan county, while two more were killed and two others were missing in floods in Hubei province.

In Hubei, rain has affected a total of 3.01 million local residents in 31 counties, said officials.

Around 24,400 people have been evacuated and 261,200 hectares of crops have damaged. A total of 2,194 homes collapsed and 5,077 more were damaged.

But severe floods triggered by heavy rains will continue to threaten southern parts of China and bring the country into a crucial period for flood control, Minister Chen stated Sunday.

While the country strengthens efforts to combat the floods, persistent drought still plagues some regions in Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu provinces and some northern provinces.

The drought still affects 4.81 million hectares of farmland nationwide.

The extreme drought left 630,000 people short of drinking water in the five provinces in the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze river, Chen said.

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