China floods kill 34 in drought-hit provinces

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 10, 2011 4:53 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - Torrential rain in two drought-stricken central China provinces triggered landslides and brought down houses, killing at least 34 people and leaving 30 missing, state media said on Friday.

More than 60,000 people were evacuated after downpours hit Xianning city in Hubei province late on Thursday, the China News Service said. Nineteen people were killed and five more were missing as water levels in the city rose to 2 meters (6.5 ft).

In Yueyang, in nearby Hunan province, 15 people were killed and 25 were missing, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The two provinces were among the worst hit by a severe drought in recent months that hit millions of hectares of farmland in central and southern China along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river.

Over the weekend, two other provinces are forecast to be hit by a tropical storm, bringing heavy rain and strong winds, Xinhua added.

The storm is expected to hit the coast somewhere near the border of Guangdong and Fujian provinces, and may also affect shipping in the key Taiwan Strait, the report said.

The drought damaged crops and exacerbated a power shortage by cutting power generation from dams, adding a slight bump to near three-year high consumer inflation.

But the drought ended last weekend with the rains that have brought deadly floods, so far killing close to 100 people in 12 provinces.

In eastern Jiangxi province, 1,200 people remain stranded by floods after heavy rain fell on the northern part of the province on Thursday, China News Service said in a separate report.

(Reporting by Sally Huang and Michael Martina; Editing by Alex Richardson)