Rainstorms claim dozens of lives and affect millions of population in S. China

GUANGZHOU, Jun 21, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) - Continuous rainstorms and ensuing floods and landslides had left dozens of locals dead and affected millions of population in south China region.

Statistics from the provincial government of Guangdong, in south China, showed the torrential rains since June 18 had led to nine people's death and affected a population of 540,000 in the province.

Water level at Wuzhou Hydrographic Station, located at an interface of Guangdong and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, of Xijiang River reached 22.8 meters by Tuesday afternoon, 5.5 meters higher than the warning level. According to the latest forecast, the station will encounter a flood peak of 23.3 meters on Wednesday night.

Rainstorms in east Guangdong also made Longchuan-Huizhou part of the Beijing-Kowloon (Jingjiu) railway line cave in, leaving dozens of trains delayed or returned. By press time, local rescuers were rushing to repair in spite of the rain.

Due to torrential rain and ensuing floods beginning from late last week, water level all along the Qianjiang River, Xunjiang River and Xijiang River, three main streams of the region's water system, had also surpassed warning levels, officials with local flood-control and drought relief headquarters said Tuesday.

Sources with Guangxi regional hydrology bureau said the water level at Wuxuan Hydrography Station of Qianjiang River reached 62. 12 meters at 5 p.m. Tuesday, 7.12 meters higher than the warning level, the water level at Dahuangjiangkou Hydrographic Station of the Xunjiang River reached 35.97 meters, 6.97 meters higher than the warning level, and the water level at Wuzhou Hydrographic Station of the Xijiang River reached 23.56 meters, 6.26 meters higher than the alarm level.

In southeast China's Fujian Province, the death toll from floods and landslides had risen to 12 while five others are still missing.

So far, the rainstorms and climate-related disasters had affected 1.59 million people in 34 counties in five cities including Nanping, Sanming, Ningde, Fuzhou and Longyan. Among the counties, Shunchang was the most seriously affected area with the water level topping four meters in the deepest area.

Only in Shunchang County of Nanping, north Fujian area, dozens of landslides had buried nine people and killed five of them. One got saved while the other three are still missing. The floods caused by the heavy rains affected a population of 95,000 scatted in 14 towns.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice-Ppremier Hui Liangyu Tuesday demanded governments at all levels to identify duties, improve emergency plans and enforce prediction and monitoring on floods, and earnestly carry out the mapped measures.

State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFCDRH) also sent a notice calling for a closely watch on weather and flood changes, and enforcement on defense works to make sure all the dams and reservoirs can safely pass flood peaks, and avoid mountain torrents disasters.