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Sodden China battles to repair flood defenses

International desk |
Update: 2010-06-26 17:50:00

BEIJING - China scrambled Sunday to repair water defences shattered by relentless rain, state media said, after flood-related disasters claimed the lives of 235 people this month.

Jiangxi province flood control officials said a major dyke that broke last week as the river running through Fuzhou city burst its banks should be fixed by Monday after 1.3 million people were evacuated, the Xinhua news agency said.

More than 400 workers in the eastern province, backed by heavy equipment, were battling to shore up the dyke on Sunday, the report said.

Days of torrential rain in parts of eastern, central and southern China have affected 68.7 million people in 22 regions, Xinhua cited the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters as saying.

At least 235 people have died and 109 gone missing in flooding and landslides triggered by relentless rains that have pounded China since June 13, according to the civil affairs ministry.

Water Resources Minister Chen Lei warned regional officials on Saturday that their jobs were at stake if they failed to protect people from the effects of the deluge.
Rain continued to fall over the weekend on the hard-hit provinces and regions of Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi, as well as in Jiangxi.

The Southern Daily said over 600 millimetres (24 inches) of rain fell in Guangdong`s Huilai county over a six-hour period on Friday, a 500-year record.
This month`s floods are among the worst in south China since 1998, when over 3,600 people were killed and more than 20 million displaced, Xinhua said.

At least 379 people have died in flooding in China this year, the government said, putting economic losses at 82.4 billion yuan (12.1 billion dollars).

BDST: 1322 HRS, June 27, 2010

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