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China evacuates tens of thousands in deadly floods
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 6, 2011

China said Monday it had evacuated more than 60,000 people in the nation's southwest after torrential rain triggered floods that killed one and left another 15 missing.

The floods in Guizhou province also damaged or destroyed thousands of houses, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement.

During the downpours, water levels on a river in Guizhou's Wangmo county rose over three metres above the safe level, before dropping back to a normal range, the official Xinhua news agency said.

State television broadcast images of water raging through towns, cars piled up and motorbikes covered in brown sludge. It also showed people being evacuated in the eastern province of Jiangxi, also hit by floods.

In neighbouring Hunan, meanwhile, around 16,000 people were evacuated in Loudi city during rainstorms, Xinhua said in a separate report.

The province has recently been hit by a severe drought, and the recent rains had helped alleviate the situation, the report said.

China suffers from serious summer rainfalls every year. In 2010, torrential downpours across large swathes of the country triggered the nation's worst floods in a decade.

More than 4,300 people died or went missing in China last year in landslides or floods, including 1,500 people who were killed in one devastating mudslide in the northwestern province of Gansu in August.

China's flood control and drought relief headquarters said Monday that the recent downpours had helped ease a severe drought along the Yangtze river, but warned that more than two million people still faced water shortages.

Weather authorities warned that rainfall this month, while relieving drought-hit areas, would also trigger floods in other parts of the country, Xinhua reported.

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