Flooding in China kills dozens
In the post-earthquake recovery, China is taking another hit as the floods sweep through 12 provinces in the southern region. The unrelenting rain is also causing fears of mudslides in areas affected by the quake. The deathtoll numbers are disputed as The New York Times reports that 68 are dead and Aljazeera News reports that it has risen to 169.
The water began receding Tuesday but the gloomy prospect of heavy rainfall still looms over the southern provinces as the forcast predicts more rain beginning Wednesday.
The government said the storms and floods had killed at least 63 people over the past week, left 13 missing and affected more than 17 million people in nine southern provinces. The high waters have also inundated about 5.4 million acres of cropland, set off landslides, damaged roads and bridges and forced more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes in southern and central provinces.
Some factories in coastal Guangdong Province — one of the biggest export centers in the country, producing everything from toys and textiles to electronics — have been forced to suspend or curtail operations, according to the state-run news media.
The national meteorological service also warned of more danger in the coming days, saying the Yellow River faced serious flood risks.
The floods are the latest in a series of powerful natural disasters to strike China this year, and come as the country is still mourning the loss of almost 70,000 people who were killed in an earthquake that struck southwest China in May.
One of the biggest concerns for the government was the potential for a new round of flooding on the Yellow River, often called "China's Sorrow" because of its long history of shifting or spilling over its banks and causing massive disasters.
The Meteorological Administration warned that flood prevention efforts were entering a "crucial phase" because heavy rain in the next few days would raise the threat of flooding on the Yellow River, the state-run China Daily reported on its front page. Provinces on the lower and middle parts of the river, including Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and Shandong were most at danger.