32 dead, 20 still missing in Hebei after rainstorms

SHIJIAZHUANG, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Thirty-two people were confirmed dead, and another 20 were still missing after rainstorms hit north China's Hebei province over the weekend, provincial authorities said Thursday.

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, over 2.66 million people had been affected by the disaster that brought floods and hail to 59 counties in Hebei, according to the provincial civil affairs bureau.

Among the victims, 13 were killed by the rainstorms in Yesanpo scenic spot in Laishui county of Hebei province, which neighbors Beijing.

Downpours collapsed a total of 28,539 houses and destroyed and 170,710 hectares of cropland in the province.

Direct economic losses totaled more than 12.28 billion yuan (about 1.92 billion U.S. dollars).

Local governments relocated 226,600 people to avoid the risks of geological disasters.

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have allotted 70 million yuan to Hebei for the disaster relief.

Torrential rains have devastated 22 provincial-level regions in China since July 20, including Beijing where the heaviest rains in 60 years fell on Saturday, leaving 37 dead.

Editor: Lu Hui