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Sodden south battles to repair flood defences

BEIJING: Mainland authorities scrambled on Sunday to repair water defences shattered by relentless rain, state media said, after flood-related disasters claimed the lives of 235 people this month.

Officials in Jiangxi province said a major dyke that broke last week when the river running through Fuzhou city burst its banks, forcing the evacuation of 1.3 million people, had been fixed, Xinhua news agency said.

The breach was fixed “following around-the-clock repair efforts by hundreds of people”, which would allow about 100,000 of the evacuees to return home sooner than expected, it said.

Another, smaller breach was still being worked on, Xinhua said.

Days of torrential rain in parts of eastern, central and southern China have affected 68.7 million people in 22 regions, the news agency cited the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters as saying.

Rain continued to fall over the weekend on the hard-hit provinces and regions of Zhejiang, Fujian, Hunan, Guangdong and Guangxi, as well as in Jiangxi.

By Sunday, the water level of major rivers in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces was receding as the rain eased off, the state headquarters said while urging no let-up in flood prevention work.

At least 235 people have died and 109 gone missing in flooding and landslides triggered by relentless rains that have pounded China since June 13, according to the civil affairs ministry.

Water Resources Minister Chen Lei warned regional officials on Saturday that their jobs were at stake if they failed to protect people from the effects of the deluge.

The Southern Daily said over 600 millimetres of rain had fallen in Guangdong’s Huilai county over a six-hour period on Friday, a 500-year record.

This month’s floods are among the worst in southern China since 1998, when over 3,600 people were killed and more than 20 million displaced, Xinhua said.

At least 379 people have died in flooding in China this year, the government said, putting economic losses at 82 billion yuan (RM40 billion). -- South China Morning Post
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