June 18, 2008

China Flooding Hits Millions

China's flooding, which has already killed dozens and caused $2 billion in direct economic loss, Wednesday threatened thousands in the Guangxi Zhuang region.

Although there was a break in the rains Tuesday, Xinhua reported the past week of rains is causing waters levels in the southern region to rise. About 7,000 people had been evacuated from several villages and towns.

The official death toll from the week-long rainstorms and floods in the nine provinces and regions in south China was put at 63 as of Monday with another 13 missing.

More than 1.6 million have been evacuated from these regions where about 67,000 homes have been destroyed and crops on about 2.5 million acre have been damaged.

Several reservoirs in the mountains in the Guangxi Zhuang region were in danger of bursting, the report said. Relief work was being hampered because more than 220 roads were damaged.

In Guangdong province, the Xijiang and Beijiang rivers were receding slowly. More than 5.6 million people in the province have been affected by flooding since June 11.

The flooding is the latest in China's massive natural disasters this year beginning with the winter freeze, followed by the devastating May 12 earthquake in the southwest.

The disasters have taken a heavy toll of China's economy, with damage estimated in the tens of billions of dollars and leaving millions people homeless. The impact could add to the inflationary pressure, already at a 12-year high.