Over 200 dead in China floods

Agence France Presse

Beijing, June 5:

A week of torrential rains and heavy flooding has killed 204 people in China, with 79 others missing, and caused widespread damage, state media reported today. The downpours have also affected over 17 million people and destroyed 614,000 hectares of farmland, Xinhua said. Official statistics showed 137,900 rooms were damaged, it said. China calculates damage to buildings by room. Governments across the country have been ordered to mobilise manpower and resources to battle the floods. Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said at a meeting of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters measures should be taken to reduce human casualties and keep property loss at a minimum. Povinces including Hunan, Sichuan and Guizhou, have been battered since May 30, killing thousands of livestock. One of the worst-affected areas is Xinshao county in Hunan province, where 43 people have been confirmed dead and 34 others missing.

More than 1,000 government officials and soldiers are working in Xinshao to rescue survivors and find the missing. In southwestern Qijiang county, 500 houses were flattened and another 2,000 damaged by yesterday following 12 hours of continuous rains. More than 300 landslides were reported, halting local railway and road transport. Some 2,000 passengers were stranded at the Qijiang Railway Station yesterday. Authorities dispatched 51 passenger buses to transport them by road.