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Rainstorms Claim 21 Lives in NW China Province

Floods following continuous rainstorms this week have claimed 21 lives and left nine other missing in Shaanxi Province, northwest China, according to the province's flood control office.

The office said Saturday that serious floods have hit 32 counties, causing an economic loss of more than 500 million yuan (US$60.45 million).

Luonan County in southern Shaanxi was worst hit by rainstorms between Aug. 28-29, with 280,000 people being victimized. Rainstorms also caused blackout of program-controlled and mobile phone services in the county.

Guo Juncheng, director of the county public security bureau, and two police officers were washed away by floodwater while trying to relocate local people to safe places.

The rainfall in Shanxian County exceeded 300 mm in the last two days. Landslides following heavy rains flattened houses with a combined floor space exceeding 10,000 square meters.

Provincial government officials have urged concerned localities to take emergency measures to guarantee that flood victims live a normal life.

The province has sent three working groups to evaluate losses of floods and deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2003)

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