Southern China’s Floods Spread, Death Toll Rises

The death toll caused by flooding in southern and central China has risen to more than 100 with at least 40 missing. The latest deaths include 25 in Hubei and 19 in Hunan, where the photograph above was taken, after waters breached river and reservoir embankments and then destroyed homes.

In all, more than 50 people are known to be dead across the four drought-hit provinces along the Yangtze that have suffered the worst flash flooding. Officials at the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters say more than 7,000 homes have been washed away and 255,000 hectares of farmland submerged. Economic losses so far are put at 5 billion yuan ($760 million).

The recent heavy rains are breaking the worst drought in 60 years in the lower and middle reaches of the Yangtze river, as they did earlier in Guizhou, where 50 are now reported to have died as the result of flooding there. Officials say that the combined economic cost of the floods and drought is 23 billion yuan. Some 617,600 hectares of farmland have been parched, with 12,600 hectares left unusable.

More heavy summer rains are in the forecast while tropical storm Sarika is expected make landfall along the Guangdong and Fujian coasts over the weekend.
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