86 dead as storms lash southern provinces

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 May, 2010, 12:00am

More heavy rain is expected across the southern mainland in the next two days as thunderstorms continue to lash the region, having already left 10 provinces flooded, at least 86 people dead and more than seven million people affected.

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) forecast yesterday that the middle and lower Yangtze River basin would see more wet weather in the next two days, with parts of Jiangsu , Anhui , Hubei and Guizhou provinces, along with Chongqing municipality, expecting heavy rain or storms.

The CMA warned regional authorities and individuals to take precautions against the threat of more floods, landslides, thunder, hail and other rainstorm-triggered activity.

Vice-Minister of Water Resources Jiao Yong said 86 people were reported dead and 16 missing in floods and mud-rock flows resulting from downpours in 10 southern provinces since May 5.

During that period 7.86 million people were affected and 275,000 were displaced.

Torrential rain has also burst dykes, washed away bridges and damaged highways and power facilities, leading to significant direct economic losses in the affected areas.

In Guangzhou, three storms in the past 10 days produced a total rainfall of 440 millimetres, the most recorded in the area in the past century.

The latest deluge on Saturday brought a halt to the service provided by the city's subway line No 2 and left hundreds of passengers stranded in Baiyun Airport, where most of the flights that day were delayed until midnight.

Two dormitory buildings of the Guangzhou International Economics College, which was built at the foot of a mountain, were hit by a landslide during heavy rain on Friday night, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

At one building, mud and rocks were piled up to half the height of the ground floor. More than 600 students were transferred to a safe place just in time.

'There was a strong smell of grass at about 11pm. I opened the door and saw a big flood rushing down with trees, rocks and sand,' a teacher living in an adjacent building was quoted as saying.

In Chongqing, downpours, low temperatures and hail on May 6 and 7 left at least 31 people dead and caused a temporary shortage of drinking water for 100,000 inhabitants as water conservancy facilities were damaged in the downpour.

Heavy rain pelted Hunan from Wednesday, flooding 160,000 hectares of crops and damaging 7,200 buildings.

The rain had so far triggered a total of 1,620 geological accidents, including landslides and mud flows, and had also burst the banks of 53 reservoirs, Xinhua reported.

The wet weather stopped for just one day but will soon resume in most parts of the south again. Meteorologists said the region should expect further heavy rain last night as cold air collided with warm and wet airflows, causing the rain.

Deadly deluge

This is the amount of rain that fell in Guangzhou in 10 days - the highest on record for 100 years: 414mm