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Flooding in Southern China Claims Scores of Victims

Skywatch-Media News: Special Report
South China
Some areas had THE MOST RAIN IN 100 YEARS.

Story: Torrential rains continued to batter a huge swath of southern China on Tuesday near one of the biggest manufacturing zones in the country. The storms and floods killed at least 63 people over the past week, left 13 missing and affected more than 17 million people in nine southern provinces. The high waters have also inundated about 5.4 million acres of cropland, set off landslides and forced more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes in southern and central provinces. Some factories in coastal Guangdong Province — one of the biggest export centers in the country, producing everything from textiles to electronics — have been forced to suspend or curtail operations. The national meteorological service also warned of more danger in the coming days. The natural disasters this year have fed superstitions that this year is somehow cursed, even though many Chinese had hoped 2008 would be a year of Olympic glory, since the number eight is considered lucky.

Entire cities under several feet of water as monsoon rains continue - In many areas waters has reached rooftops and many roads have been cut off by rising flood waters or rain-induced landslides. Even in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, huge metropolitan areas with tens of million of people, are partly under water. Weather forecasts expect more torrential rain for the whole week in Guangdong, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Sichuan. The eastern provinces of Gansu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Guizhou, Yunnan and Fujian have also been affected. Rain-triggered floods have toppled 134,000 houses and caused economic losses estimated at 27.7 billion yuan (US$ 4.2 billion). Now dams are at risk and the authorities have rushed hundreds of people to shore them up and more than 40 rivers are exceeding their warning levels as tens of thousands of people continue to be evacuated. In quake-devastated Sichuan, non-stop rains threaten to cause landslides. Again uncontrolled deforestation has been blamed for the flooding. In many areas entire hills are denuded of trees and left without protection against raging waters, a situation that easily triggers landslides.

Up to 3,000 schools in Guangxi have been damaged due to the flooding. Since the rainy season began in late May, rains have deluged large swathes of southern China, while the northeast of the country is experiencing the complete opposite in the form of an UNUSUAL heatwave. Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province usually known as the "Ice City", reported an ABNORMALLY HIGH TEMPERATURE of 37.1 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit) Tuesday - the SECOND HIGHEST IN THE CITY'S HISTORY. In quake-hit Sichuan province, where millions of refugees are living in tents and makeshift shelters, the evacuation of up to 110,000 quake refugees from dangerous mountainous areas threatened by rain-induced landslides in Aba prefecture was slated to finish today. In the south in Guangdong and the neighbouring Guangxi region, the rains have either swamped hundreds of roads or left them cut off by landslides. Thousands of transport trucks have been stranded in both provinces, cutting off food supplies to urban centres and fuelling price rises.

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