06/16/2008, 00.00
CHINA
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Over one million displaced, billions in damage from Guangdong flooding

Dozens killed in southern China, more than 10,000 factories closed in Guangdong, vegetable prices sky high. In the north, it is feared that the Yellow River will burst its banks. In Sichuan, heavy rain is falling, with the risk of landslides: tens of thousands of refugees have been evacuated.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Over 1.27 million have been displaced, at least 62 are dead or missing, and damages have reached 10 billion yuan (a billion euros): this is the official tally from the minister for civil affairs, in the flooding in southern China, while there are fears of flooding by the Yellow River in the north.  Meanwhile, heavy rain in Sichuan threatens to cause serious landslides.

The flooding has been serious, above all in the industrial region of Guangdong, where more than 10,000 factories have had to close and the damage is estimated at 3.8 billion yuan (380 million euros), especially to the fishing industry.  It is feared that new storms will swell the Yangtze River, with the risk of more flooding in Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Guangxi.  These are the same areas already stricken by the snow in January.

The flooding is also causing rises in food prices - harvests have been impaired by the water, and vegetable prices have risen by 30 to 70% in some cities in Guangdong.

Meanwhile, the national meteorological service warns that there could be "fairly widespread" flooding in the north from the Yellow River, the second longest Chinese river at 5,500 kilometres.

Heavy rains are also falling in Sichuan, with the risk of serious landslides.  In the county of Wenchuan, the epicentre of the recent earthquake, 50,000 displaced persons have been moved.

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