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Half of China drenched, bedraggled by unprecedented floods

Vehicles run through flooded water in a street in Xiangfan, a city in central China's Hubei Province July 14, 2007. (Xinhua Photo)


July 14, 2007

JINGSHAN, Hubei, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Zheng Xiaoling trekked in the knee-deep water, careful not to fall and be washed into a swollen river 500 meters away.
On Friday, the worst rainstorm to attack her home county of Jingshan in central China's Hubei Province since records began interrupted power and water supplies for six hours and inundated at least 140 homes in her community, including her own.
"I left home at 7:00 a.m. and when I came back two hours later, the flood water was more than a meter deep in the house and even our bed and fridge were floating," said the miserable 35-year-old housewife who has just been laid off from a local building material supplier.
Her home was furnished only six months ago and the family spent more than 50,000 yuan on new furniture and electrical appliances. "The flood destroyed everything -- even the junkmen don't want them now."
Even worse, her family had to move out to live with their relatives. "God knows for how long."
The torrential rain that started to hit Jingshan county on Friday forced 17,104 people to evacuate, injured 23 and left one person missing, the county's drought prevention and flood control office said.
"The rain started at midnight and when I got up at 7:00 a.m., I found the water outside was so deep that I couldn't open the door," said Zhang Yinxiu, 55. "I called my daughter and her husband. Together, we forced it open to escape."
By 10:00 a.m., the water was chest deep.
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