147 killed as heavy rains pound China
Beijing, June 21 : At least 147 people have died and about two million had to be evacuated as torrential rains continued to wreck havoc in southern China over the past week.
"The storms affected 15.33 million people and left 93 residents missing in nine provincial-level regions since June 13," the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.
More than 178,000 houses have been destroyed and direct economic losses have topped 19.7 billion yuan (USD 2.9 billion), the China Daily quoted the ministry officials as saying.
The flood also disrupted inter-provincial train services, affected 784,200 hectares of crops and trapped thousands of residents in counties where power supply and transportation were cut off.
The National Meteorological Centre forecast more thunderstorms in the areas.
Hunan and Jiangxi provinces were among the worst hit areas.
In Hunan, eight people were killed and 11 went missing, according to the provincial flood control office.
Seven people were killed among the 1.97 million residents affected in Jiangxi and its four counties were inundated with floods more than one meter deep, local flood control and drought relief authorities said.
The areas also suffered electricity shortage as well as communication breakdowns. About 3,300 people were still trapped in the floods in Jiangxi's Yingtan city, the local government said.
Floods and torrential rain also paralysed roads and railways to and from Yingtan, with trains bound south cancelled or delayed.
About 40,000 passengers were stranded in Shanghai and more than 20,000 people sought ticket refunds after 30 trains were cancelled.
Premier Wen Jiabao visited flood-affected Wuzhou of Guangxi over the weekend and called for better forecasts, alarm systems and emergency response plans to deal with the inclement weather.