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Floods Hit Shaanxi, Henan

In Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, which has been hit by a continuous heavy rain, a total of 38 people have been reported dead and another 34 people have been missing since last Thursday.


The latest statistics released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs showed that a total of 4.924 million people in Shaanxi's 67 counties and districts were hit by the disaster.


The ministries of civil affairs and finance have allocated an emergency fund of 20 million yuan (US$2.4 million) and 6,500 tents to the province to help local people resettle in areas away from the flood-stricken area.


The second flood crest on Weihe River had passed Huayin County in eastern Shaanxi yesterday. With the end of the continuous heavy rain, the water level in the river started to drop down slowly.


The Weihe River, the Yellow River's largest tributary which crosses central Shaanxi from west to east, witnessed historically high water levels caused by heavy rain, and the embankments of the Weihe River's tributaries burst in five places on Monday.


The serious flooding of the Weihe River went back to its tributaries and met with the flood in the tributaries, forming a forceful flow to break the banks of the tributaries, according to local flood prevention office.


The latest statistics showed that some 46,000 houses and 318,000 hectares of farmland were destroyed in the flood. The direct economic loss reached 3.02 billion yuan (US$363.8 million).


Weather forecasts that the rain will last until September 6, and flood prevention is still the top priority in Shaanxi, the headquarters said.


In Central China's Henan Province, 36 counties have suffered from the heavy rains and the flooding it caused, the local Dahe Newspaper reported yesterday.


Ten people lost their lives in the flood and a total of 14.64 million people were affected.


The flood had also ruined 1,189 hectares of farmland and damaged 38,000 houses by noon on Monday, causing a direct economic loss of 4.2 billion yuan (US$506 million).


However, the continuous rainfall has also relieved the drought that has recently prevailed in northern areas of China.


"The heavy rainfall enables reservoirs to save more water to prepare for days of drought,'' said Zhou Yiming, an official with the national flood control and drought relief headquarters.


Zhou said that the upper reaches of the Yangtze River also saw a bigger flow in recent days, with a daily flow of 30,000 cubic meters.


(China Daily September 3, 2003)


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