China

China cleans up after flooding brings heavy losses - July 7, 1996

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BEIJING (AP) -- As storms lifted across southern China, millions of people went out to repair dikes, pump water and
clear debris from floods, news reports said Sunday.

The floods killed 315 people and injured more than 3,700, according to government reports.

Television footage showed soldiers carrying old people to safety and scooping up debris with their hands and shovels.

From June 27 to July 4, storms across nine provinces and regions brought up to 22 inches (56 centimeters) of rain. The government estimates the floods destroyed 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres) of crops, and that 20 million people were injured or their property was damaged.

In Hubei, in central China, 1.5 million people manned pump stations and opened floodgates to drain water from fields,
the newspaper Liberation Daily reported Sunday.

Other reports said the government was releasing food and sending in medical teams with medicine, bleach and other
supplies to prevent an outbreak of water-borne diseases.

The government has mobilized hundreds of thousands of soldiers and reservists to fight the floods. They evacuated
more than half a million people, dug out railway lines buried in landslides and repaired flood-control barriers and drainage pipes, news reports said.

In Hong Kong, an editorial in the newspaper Ming Pao noted that China suffers huge floods every year when the summer
rains fall. It said China's central and local governments should pay more attention to flood control work to prevent future catastrophes.

"If lessons were learned and precautions taken it would be possible to contain and even avert such disasters," Ming Pao
said.

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