Deadly rain sweeps northern China, 75 dead or missing


Shijiazhuang—At least 75 people in northern China have died or gone missing since Monday in some of the worst floods the country has seen in years, says the Civil Affairs Ministry.
Heavy rains across usually dry regions like Beijing forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
Hundreds of flights and trains were also cancelled after the capital was hit by persistent rain.
The first half of the year has seen 576 people recorded as dead or missing. Authorities have mobilised troops and heavy equipment across China as the rain threatened embankments along rivers in the country’s central region.
President Xi Jinping warned the country to be prepared for more hardship to come, adding that officials found negligent in their duties would be severely punished. Emergency measures, such as discharging water from the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze, have already been taken by authorities.
The Beijing city government issued an orange alert on Wednesday, the second highest alert in the country. As of Thursday noon, direct economic losses from the rain-triggered disaster reached 4.75 billion yuan(711 million U.S. dollars). Relief supplies including tents, quilts and clothing have been distributed in the worst-hit cities including Handan, Xingtai and the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang.
In neighboring Henan Province, 12 people were confirmed dead with six unaccounted for, the provincial flood control headquarters said. Storms forced the evacuation of 105,000 people, levelled 2,110 homes and damaged 20,720 hectares of crops. The extreme weather caused two dikes to collapse in the city of Anyang on Wednesday. Soldiers and rescue workers are attempting to close the breach.
The direct economic losses in Henan are estimated at 477 million yuan. The National Commission for Disaster Relief and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have sent staff to assist the relief work.
Water levels in some of China’s major rivers have exceeded the floods of 1998, which saw 4,150 people killed, most of them along the Yangtze River.—Agencies

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