Rainstorms kill 111, affect 9 million people
Updated: 2012-07-25 03:10
BEIJING - Torrential rains have ravaged 22 provincial-level regions in China since July 20, leaving 111 dead and another 47 missing, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Tuesday.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, natural disasters caused by the downpours had affected nearly 9.2 million people in 353 counties and forced the evacuation of nearly 1.18 million people, the ministry said in a statement.
The rainstorms also destroyed 54,000 houses and damaged another 144,000, it said.
Due to the downpours on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the gigantic Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, Hubei province, saw the biggest flood peak at 8 p.m. Tuesday, said Xiao Ge, an official of the dam's communication center.
The influx of water into the reservoir reached 71,200 cubic meters per second, the biggest flood since the reservoir was established in 2003 and surpassing the previous record of 70,000 cubic meters per second in 2010, Xiao said.
Eight water discharge channels were used Tuesday night, discharging water at a speed of 43,000 cubic meters per second in total, Xiao added.
All the indicators of the Three Gorges Dam were within normal limits and the discharge of water reduced the dangers posed by the flooding to the lower reaches of the Yangtze, Xiao said.
In north China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, heavy rains have left four people killed and another one missing over the past few days. More than 200,000 residents were affected, 62,779 hectares of cropland damaged and 4,482 houses destroyed, leaving the direct economic losses of 640 million yuan (100.2 million U.S. dollars).
In the neighboring Hebei province, at least 19 people have been confirmed dead and 20 others missing in rain-triggered disasters that occurred over the weekend, the provincial civil affairs bureau said Tuesday.
The rainstorms brought floods and hail to 58 counties in the province, leading to the evacuation of 177,000 people, according to the bureau.
As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, more than 2.1 million people in Hebei had been affected, a total of 12,961 houses were toppled and 152,100 hectares of cropland damaged, resulting in direct economic losses of about 3 billion yuan.
Downpours since last Friday have battered 12 counties in five cities in northwest China's Shaanxi province leaving seven people dead and more than a dozen missing as of Tuesday. A total of 122,800 people in Shaanxi have been affected, the provincial civil affairs department said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, as rain stops in many part of the country, disturbed traffic and service on a trunk railway -- disrupted twice by rain-triggered floods over the past several days -- was restored on Tuesday in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, local railway authorities said.