09/20/2011, 00.00
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In China, disastrous floods kill dozens, displace millions

A week of torrential rains devastates China’s northern, central and south-western regions, wiping out homes and harvests. Landslides and floods kill 57 people, with 29 missing. Damages top US$ 2.7 billion.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Floods and landslides in China caused by a week of heavy rain have killed at least 57 people and forced millions from their homes. Official figures show that 12.3 million people were affected in Sichuan, Henan and Shaanxi provinces—in the south-west, centre and north of China. The Sichuan flooding is expected to be the worst since records began in 1847.

The floods and landslides have damaged crops and delayed harvests, causing the collapse of more than 120,000 houses. Economic losses are estimated at US$ 2.7 billion, the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced.

In addition to the known casualties, 29 people are missing, the ministry also reported.

The central government has teams to help with the relief effort and distribute tents, blankets and clothing.

The deputy mayor of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi, said a landslide on Saturday hit a suburban district of the city, burying a brick factory and a dormitory for workers, killing 17 people with 15 missing.

More than 600,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Sichuan as major tributaries of the Yangtze—China's longest river—exceed danger levels.
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