China prepares for more flooding as rain expected

AP News
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 3:15 AM
China prepares for more flooding as rain expected

More heavy downpours are forecast this week over central and southern China, where seasonal flooding has already killed more than 100 people, Chinese state media reported Monday.

This month's rains have partially relieved the country's worst drought in half a century, while also causing landslides, toppling homes and cutting power supplies and telecommunications.

Torrential rain is expected to sweep Hunan, one of the worst flood-hit provinces, from Monday evening until Friday, the province's flood control and drought relief headquarters said Monday.

"Compared with the last round, this time the area to be soaked is larger and the rainfall will be at least the same," said the headquarters' director, Bai Chaohai, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The local government in Hunan said rainfall in some areas could be as high as 7 to 9 inches (180 to 220 millimeters).

Bai said that soil in Hunan had become loose because of the drought, and areas including the mountainous western parts of the province were prone to mud-rock flows and landslides in heavy rain.

Rain-triggered mountain torrents and mud-rock flows last week caused 36 deaths and left 21 missing in Hunan.

The area affected by drought has halved since June 2 in the Yangtze River area of Hunan, neighboring Hubei and Jiangxi provinces, and Jiangsu and Anhui to the east, China's flood control agency said Monday.

Meanwhile, a new round of downpours is expected in southwest Guizhou province, where rains last week killed 25 people and left 31 missing.

In central Hubei province more than 100 roads have been flooded and 40 bridges damaged, Xinhua reported.

The flooding has affected Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Fujian and Guizhou provinces, killing more than 100 people, Xinhua said.

Meanwhile, coastal Fujian was struck by weakened Tropical Storm Sarika, which caused a landslide Sunday that killed seven employees of China Communications Construction Company Ltd. and their family members.