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Flood Forces Evacuation of 100,000 Residents in Shaanxi

The second flood crest on the Weihe River, a tributary of the Yellow River, arrived at Huaxian County in northwest China's Shaanxi Province yesterday, forcing the evacuation of over 100,000 residents from the threatened areas.

The embankments had been soaked by the first flood crest long before the arrival of the second crest traveling at speeds surpassing the recorded high, according to local flood control departments.

The Shaanxi Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has allocated 20 rubber boats and 1,000 life jackets to the counties along the river. Residents began to move from the threatened areas on Sunday morning.

Between August 24 and early yesterday morning all of Shaanxi's 108 counties and districts were hit continuously by heavy rain, with 58 counties facing precipitation of over 100 millimeters, according to the headquarters.

"The heavy rain was mainly concentrated in the southern parts of northern Shaanxi, northern parts of central Shaanxi and central and western parts of southern Shaanxi. Southern Ningshaan County which suffered the worst flooding had a precipitation of 357 millimeters," the headquarters said.

The continuous heavy rain caused flooding in 50 rivers in the province and some 40 percent of its reservoirs are overfilled, with nine reservoirs now discharging flood water, flood headquarters reported.

According to statistics, 37 counties in Shaanxi have been hit by floods since August 24, and some 1.56 million people are suffering from the disaster.

"The flooding and landslides caused by heavy rain have destroyed 16,400 houses and 49,000 hectares of farmland. Direct economic losses have reached 2 billion yuan (US$240 million)," the headquarters said.

(China Daily September 2, 2003)

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