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UPDATED: June 13, 2012
Downpours Disrupt Lives of Millions in South China

Torrential rains have swept across large parts of south China over the past few days, disrupting the lives of millions of residents.

The provinces of Hunan, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Sichuan, as well as the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, have reported several days of torrential rains, which have triggered floods or landslides in some areas.

Rainstorms have affected nearly 740,000 people in Jiangxi and forced 17,500 residents to relocate.

Xie Chunji, a 64-year-old farmer from the village of Dalong in the city of Ji'an, pulled his wife and three grandsons out of their house before it collapsed Monday morning.

Xie said he sensed danger and woke his family to escape at 5 a.m., as their adobe house, located halfway up the hill, was threatened by floods and landslides.

"The house collapsed right after we ran out," he recalled, adding that two of his grandsons didn't even have time to put on shoes.

Xie and his family were relocated by the village committee, with quilts, drinking water and food provided to them.

Relocated people have either stayed with the committee or turned to their relatives or friends, said Wang Jianhong, head of the village committee.

On Monday morning, 50-year-old Chen Mingxiang was looking for salvageable belongings in the debris of her half-collapsed house.

"The loss of my house and crops may add up to 10,000 yuan ($1,567)," Chen said.

Wang Yida, a civil affairs official with the Zhutian township government, said every household in the township will receive 20,000 yuan ($3,140) as a reconstruction subsidy, adding that local residents will also be able to recover some of the value of their destroyed crops through subsidies.

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, average precipitation in the province reached 1,131 mm, 28 percent more than the average for previous years.

In Hunan Province, which borders Jiangxi, nine people have died and another three have gone missing since Saturday, the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said on Tuesday.

About 54,000 people in Hunan were evacuated, with another 1.1 million people in nearly 300 townships were affected, according to a written statement issued by the headquarters.

Up to 89,900 hectares of farmland were damaged by the rains and nearly 3,000 houses were toppled, the statement said.

The main tributaries of the Yangtze River, the largest river in China, and the 10 major reservoirs in the province have seen water levels rise above warning levels, it said.

The Central Government has sent several teams to rain-hit provinces to help them carry out relief work, as torrential rains have also slammed Sichuan and Guizhou provinces.

Continuous rainstorms triggered a landslide in southwest China's Sichuan Province early Tuesday morning, burying 10 workers at a quarry in Jinchuan County in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.

Four of the workers were rescued, while another four remain missing. The bodies of two deceased workers have been recovered.

Rainstorms also contributed to five deaths in Guizhou, with more than 220,000 people affected.

In Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, rain-triggered floods affected 300,000 people and forced 12,400 of them to relocate.

According to the region's civil affairs department, rainstorms have hit eight cities in the region since June 8. Direct economic losses reached 92 million yuan ($14 billion) after floods damaged 100,000 hectares of crops and over 1,618 houses.

Train services have also been affected.

Two passenger trains scheduled to travel from the southwestern city of Kunming to the eastern city of Jinan on Tuesday and the central China city of Wuhan on Wednesday have been canceled. Several other trains traveling through the saturated central part of the country have been delayed, according to the Kunming railway bureau.

(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2012)

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