At least 35 people had been killed in floods and landslides in last week until Sunday in Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces.
Starting on August 24, heavy rains which have hit most parts of Shaanxi have caused flooding in 32 counties of the province.
A total of 21 people have been killed and nine are still missing. Total property loss is estimated at 550 million yuan (US$66.3 million), according to Shaanxi provincial government sources.
And in Ya'an of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, 14 people have been killed by landslides set off by flooding and four more are still missing.
The continuing heavy rains have resulted in flooding along several major tributaries of the Yellow River -- the Qinhe, Weihe and Luohe rivers.
Over 10,000 soldiers and local residents have been mobilized to contain the flooding.
In southern Shaanxi's Ningshaan County which suffered the worst flooding, more than 300 buildings, many of them local government office buildings, have been buried in landslides caused by the heavy rain and another 300 houses have been destroyed in the flooding, according to Shaanxi Provincial Flood Prevention Headquarters.
"Thanks to the work of the local government, most of the 12,000 residents in the county seat were moved to safe ground before the disaster occurred. '' said Zhang Wei, vice-governor of Shaanxi Province, who led a rescue team to the county.
"However, the county is still under threat of flooding and landslides because of the continuous heavy rains forecast for the coming few days, and we should also pay great attention to epidemic prevention after the disaster,'' said the deputy governor.
It was also reported the flooding caused by heavy rains inflicted damages in central Shaanxi, where the province's major cities such as Xi'an, the provincial capital, and the industrial hubs of Xianyang and Tongchuan are all located.
"The flooding destroyed a number of roads, bridges, power supply facilities, buildings and farmland in central Shaanxi and caused some 80 landslides,'' said the deputy governor.
In the early morning on August 30, flooding destroyed more than 200 metres of embankment in Baoji along Weihe River, a major tributary of the Yellow River, threatening the province's second largest city in western Shaanxi. After a 15-hour struggle involving 3,000 soldiers, local officials and residents, the dike was saved and more than 1,000 people are still on the embankment working to contain the flooding, said Shaanxi Flood Prevention Headquarters.
The most serious flooding since 1981 hit the middle reaches of Weihe River on August 30, and at 6:36 pm when the flood peak passed Xianyang Hydrometric Station, the flow was 5,000 cubic meters per second. The situation is becoming more serious with water levels in the river continuing to rise, according to the headquarters.
On August 29, the Shaanxi Provincial government issued an urgent notice to all local governments to mobilize flood prevention measures in face of the rising threat.
The notice urged local officials to make provisions to look after people displaced by the flooding, to make more efforts to repair flood-damaged homes, roads, telecommunications facilities and power and water supplies, and to pay more attention to epidemic prevention.
And the notice also instructed local officials to make appropriate arrangements for the dead and injured and preparation for agricultural production.
Three working groups sent by the provincial government have arrived in the disaster-stricken areas and the first batch of aid materials, valued at 200,000 yuan (US$24,096) has been sent to hardest-hit Ningshaan County from Xi'an, according to provincial government sources.
The weather forecast is for heavy rain over Shaanxi until September 3, and local people are now prepared to fight even more serious flooding.
(China Daily September 1, 2003)