06/22/2005, 00.00
CHINA
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Harsh weather divides China: flooding in the south, aridity in the north

Seven days of torrential rains and landslides have killed 21 people in the southern regions of the country; more than two million people have suffered damages as a result of the turbulent weather. Meanwhile, record heat and dry weather prevails in the northern regions.

Beijing (AsiaNews/agencies) – Twenty-one people have been killed in violent floods caused by torrential rains currently pouring on China. In the space of seven days, more than two million people have suffered damages in the fierce deluge. The southern regions of Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Jianxi and Zhejiang were hardest hit, with many houses and crops destroyed.

Guangxi province fared the worst: according to official data, seven people died there and more than 1.52 million people were affected, with damages estimated at 369 million yen (more than 36 million Euros). Seven people were killed in Fujian too, and 210,000 people were evacuated in a single day, on Monday 20. At the moment, trains and streets are blocked by mud and energy supplies have been disrupted. Zhang Jinhong, representative of the Civil Affairs office of Nanping city in Fujian said the area urgently needs food, medicine and clothes. "The landslides caused by the rain," he said, "have blocked all roads which could be used for transport."

In Liuzhou, Guangxi, four people died on Sunday 19: according to a representative of the Civil Affairs office of the area, emergency aid is being distributed but "electricity has been disrupted in some regions so it is impossible to alert local people".

In Zhejiang 72 industries had to close "due to force majeure" and 16 hydro-energy stations were severely damaged.

According to meteorologists, the "worst rains" should abate in the country's central-south regions in the next three days.

The reverse is happening in other parts of the country: in Beijing, temperatures as high as 38 degrees Celsius are being recorded, however the highest temperatures have been recorded in some areas in the central-north regions of Hebei and Shaanxi, where people are even fighting with consequent aridity which is setting fields on fire.

The municipality of Beijing has issued an alert "inviting all citizens to remain in their homes between 11.00 and 15.00", when temperatures are at their highest. The drastic rise in temperatures has increased the demand for energy. Within the last ten days, the country's power stations have had demands for provision of more than 10 million kW. Even water consumption has increased: on Monday, in the capital alone, around 23 million cubic metres of water were used.  

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