July 27, 2006

Rainstorms kill 18 in south China

BEIJING (Reuters) - Floods and landslides triggered by
Typhoon Kaemi have killed at least 18 people and left more than
60 missing in southern China, state media said on Thursday.

Kaemi weakened into a tropical depression after sweeping
across China's southeastern coast on Tuesday, but downpours it
brought soaked at least four provinces, all of which are still
reeling from damage by tropical storm Bilis.

Six people were killed when flash floods along a
mountainside hit a military barracks in the eastern province of
Jiangxi, Xinhua news agency said.

President Hu Jintao has ordered that "the utmost effort" be
made to search for 38 officers, soldiers and family members who
are still missing, it added.

Two girls -- aged nine and six -- died in southern
Guangdong province after their house collapsed under a

Both incidents occurred in the early hours of Wednesday
when the victims were probably sleeping, Xinhua said.

Ten people were killed, mostly by flood waters, in
Jiangxi's mountainous south, Xinhua said. About 20 were missing
and roads and communications have been disrupted in some areas.

"The deaths were mainly reported in Shangyou county, which
has also suffered many house collapses. Rivers and dams there
are overflowing at alarming levels," an official at the
provincial flood control office told Reuters by telephone.

Relief workers have been distributing blankets, clothing
and instant noodles to the tens of thousands of villagers
affected in the county, Xinhua said.

In neighboring Hunan province, hundreds of thousands of
people were relocated as streets in the city of Chenzhou, where
Bilis killed almost 200 this month, were flooded and at least
three were missing, Xinhua said.

A section of the Beijing-Zhuhai highway in southern Hunan,
cut for days by Bilis, was submerged by water again and drivers
were advised to take other routes.

In Fujian province, where Kaemi made landfall after
sweeping through Taiwan, a levee collapsed, threatening the
lives of more than 20,000 people in six villages, Xinhua said,
adding that emergency repair work was under way.

Rain was likely to continue in the provinces through
Friday, China's Central Meteorological Office said on its Web
site (www.nmc.gov.cn).

The Meteorological Office said Kaemi carried less rain and
would move away faster than Bilis, which killed 612 people and
left 208 missing in southern China since it stuck the country
on July 14, mostly in the provinces of Hunan, Guangdong and

Tropical storms and typhoons frequently strike Taiwan,
Japan, the Philippines and southern China during a season that
lasts from early summer to late autumn.