Downpour sweeps E. China province with 200,000 people affected

HANGZHOU, Jun 21, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Torrential rain has since last Saturday swept central and southern parts of Zhejiang Province, east China, affecting 200,000 people and incurring direct economic losses of more than 100 million yuan (12.04 million US dollars), according to the provincial flood and drought control authority.

No casualties have been reported by press time.

A total of 73 townships in central and southern Zhejiang were ravaged by the downpour. Consequently, more than 600 houses collapsed, 7,333 hectares of farm land affected, 72 industrial enterprises closed down, and 16 hydropower stations devastated. Some infrastructure, including highways, embankments and power supply facilities, have been damaged, the flood and drought control authority said.

Meteorologists forecast rain will persist into Thursday in central and southern parts of Zhejiang. The authority warned local governments of possible disasters, such as mountain torrents and landslides.