China flood deaths rise to 57, one million evacuated

HEAVY rains and floods across China have left 57 people dead with dozens of others missing and hundreds injured, while more than a million residents were evacuated from their homes.

Unprecedented rains over the past week have swamped provinces in northern, central and southwest China, and although the affected region is breathing a tentative sigh of relief as the downpours pause, rivers continue to swell.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement that the rain had forced authorities to evacuate more than 1.2 million people from their homes.

“Constant strong rainfall has caused serious flood disasters in Sichuan [southwest], Shaanxi [north] and Henan [central] – 12.3 million people were affected, 57 died and 29 are missing,” it said.

One area of the southwestern province of Sichuan, Bazhong, was severely affected, with 13 people killed, 10 missing and 156 injured, a spokesman for the local government told the official China Daily newspaper.

The Jialing river, a tributary of the Yangtze, China’s longest river, was recorded nearly seven metres above alert levels and waters were expected to rise to their highest levels since record-keeping began in 1847.

Last year saw China’s worst flooding in a decade, leaving more than 4300 people dead or missing.

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