Floods kill 13, affects 1.97 million in SW China region

NANNING, Jun 10, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Death toll in torrential floods in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has reached 13 and one remained missing by Sunday, according to local civil affairs authority.

More than 1.97 million people have been affected after the floods triggered by continuous heavy rains hit some 40 counties since Wednesday.

According to the local civil affairs bureau, 9,200 houses were knocked down and 75,181 hectares of crops were affected, incurring 529 million yuan (about 70 million U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses.

The rainstorms have subsided and the rainbelt is moving out of Guangxi, but the water levels in major rivers will keep rising in next few days, according to the latest forecast of the region's meteorological bureau on Sunday afternoon.

An emergency rescue group from China's Ministry of Civil Affairs has been sent to the stricken area to back up the disaster-relief operation.

At least 66 people were killed and 12 missing after continuous rains, mudslides and floods hit Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Fujian in southern China over the past five days, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The floods and mudslides have torn down 48,000 houses, damaged 94,000 houses and forced about 591,000 people to evacuate from their homes. A total of 8.97 million people were affected.

The disasters have caused an overall economic loss of more than 2.9 billion yuan (371 million U.S. dollars), according to the ministry.