Six missing after Qinglian bridge collapses in Jiangyou, Sichuan
Associated Press in Beijing and Staff Reporter
Rescuers in a mountainous area of Sichuan pulled three people from a raging river but six others remained missing following a bridge collapse yesterday amid heavy flooding that forced thousands to evacuate their homes.
A car, three minivans and an SUV plunged into the torrent when the Qinglian bridge broke apart just before noon in Jiangyou , the local government said on its website.
It said an earlier report that two buses had fallen into the river was incorrect.
The two-lane bridge was built in 1967 and a replacement span is under construction. Beijing has been pouring resources into building infrastructure, but many older bridges and dams across the nation are of poor quality and urgently need repairs or replacement.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said flooding in Sichuan since Sunday had affected an area that is home to 360,000 people, damaging or destroying 300 homes and forcing 6,100 to evacuate.
In Yaan , which was shaken by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in April, at least 16,900 people in 4,920 households were affected.
Direct economic losses are estimated at 768 million yuan (HK$971.5 million), Xinhua reported, citing local government.
The rain also submerged ruins of buildings destroyed by the 2008 earthquake in Beichuan county. An 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit Beichuan in May 2008, leaving 87,000 people dead.
State media showed photos of buildings that were damaged and abandoned in the 2008 quake soaked in waves of muddy water.
The Sichuan Provincial Meteorological Centre upgraded its orange rainstorm alert to red - the highest severe weather warning - with torrential rain expected in Chengdu , Yaan and Deyang .