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China's Flood Claims Over 500 Lives

In Southern China, Chinese are navigating through inundated cities and villages on Friday as the nationwide death toll rose to 563. It’s the highest recorded peak water level in the region’s history
( [email protected] ) Jun 24, 2005 11:34 PM EDT

In Southern China, Chinese are navigating through inundated cities and villages on Friday as the nationwide death toll rose to 563.

Although this number is lower than the 1998 summer flood in central and northeastern China that killed 4,150 people, it’s the highest recorded peak water level in the region’s history, reported Xinhua News Agency. Plus, forecasters warned that more rains were coming, bound to deluge the area around the Pearl River Delta, an important row of export industries in China.

On the front page of Guangzhou Daily newspaper, a picture shows the water levels near the top of some telephone polls in one city.

China suffers from hundreds of floods during the rainy season from June through August and many fatalities. In just this week, over 100 people have died and about 70 people are reported missing.

Beijing representative, Alistair Henley, from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cresent Soldiers said, “high water levels could spread sewage, polluting drinking water and raising health risks as well as damaging crops,” which means, “a lot of suffering, particularly for the rural people in neighboring countries.”

According to Xinhua, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs released statistics on the effects of the floods in China, which covered Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, and Guangdong provinces, in addition to Guangxi Zhuang, an autonomous region in Southern China, indicating that a total number of 18.85 million people have been affected by down-pouring floods to landslides and forced to evacuate their homes.

So far, the nationwide economic loss amounted to over 20 billion yuan, with Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi as the worst to be hit, reported the Associated Press, and those numbers are still climbing.