• 101 killed as more rainstorms expected
  • China Daily 2010-05-19 08:58 anonymous
  • (Low carbon net news)The China Meteorological Administration launched a fourth-level emergency response for major disasters on Monday to deal with the inclement weather.

    As of Monday, rainstorms have killed at least 101 people in 11 provinces and regions, with more than 15 million people affected, China News Service reported.

    The National Meteorological Center's chief forecaster Yang Guiming said the new round of rain began to hit the middle and lower valleys of the Yangtze River from Sunday night and is expected to end on Tuesday.

    However, for drought-hit areas like Shandong province, the latest storms helped to alleviate the dry spell instead, said an official with the provincial flood-control and drought relief headquarters who only gave his surname as Li.

    A number of other provinces spared from the current round of storms are also using the time to prepare for heavy rainfall that is forecast to fall from Thursday to Sunday.

    Zhou Shengqi, a publicity official with Xupu county in Hunan province, said in a telephone interview on Monday that repair work on the county's 68 roads damaged in previous floods is speeding up. By Monday, traffic had resumed on almost 40 of the roads.

    One road leading to a local primary school was repaired overnight and the school resumed classes on Monday, he said.

    The county was severely damaged by floods triggered by heavy rains on May 12 and 13.

    Water levels in rivers passing through the county have risen 6 m after 10 hours, destroying four bridges in one day, authorities said.

    "Repair work is speeding up before the next round of rainfall. We also strengthened the monitoring of water levels in rivers and reservoirs, in order to issue alerts and evacuate villagers before floods," he said.

    In Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, the three rainstorms last week have prompted local property management companies and businesses to take measures to prevent underground garages and goods from becoming submerged.

    "We have set up wall one meter tall at the gates and prepared sand bags just in case," said a manager surnamed Yu with Jinsui Tower in Guangzhou.

    The rainfall pushed up vegetable prices in Guangdong and Fujian provinces where farmland was submerged.

    The recent rainstorms also damaged the homes of about 19,000 people in Guilin of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

    More than 30 houses collapsed, 1,100 hectares of farmland were inundated and many public facilities were damaged. The economic damage was estimated at 13.2 million yuan ($1.9 million).

    Three rainstorms pelted Guangzhou, bringing the weekly rainfall up to 440 mm.

    The precipitation equaled one-quarter of the city's annual rainfall, said Lin Liangxun, Guangdong's chief weather forecaster.

    Guangdong has reported one person missing and more than 35,000 people affected by the heavy rains.

    In Hunan province, during the second round of storms that began on May 12, one person was killed in a landslide triggered by the rains and about 3.7 million people were affected.

    According to the provincial flood-control and drought relief headquarters, 12,700 residential buildings were destroyed and about 141,000 people were evacuated.

    The direct economic losses from the bad weather were estimated at 1.66 billion yuan.