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Severe tropical storm Bilis leaves 178 dead in south-east China

Monday, July 17, 2006

South-east China has been flooded by torrential rainstorms as the Severe Tropical Storm Bilis came ashore on Friday, July 14. The total death toll stands at 178 people but many people are missing, and the figure might rise.

Floods, 10 meters high in some areas washed away 19,100 houses, damaged roads, power lines, and devastated villages and agriculture. Three million people were affected by the tropical storm which Xinhua, the state news agency, estimated would cost three billion yuan ($375 million) damage.

The worse-hit provinces were Fujian, Hunan and Guangdong while their were deaths and an economic impact in Zhejian, Jiangxi and Guangxi provinces.

At least 92 died in Hunan where dam reservoirs rose to their limits. The water swell in Leiyang rose 10 metres above the levels from Friday.

40,000 people in the cities of Hengyang and Chenzhou were reported stranded. 14 coal miners died when a dam burst, ravaging the land and flooding their pit at Shenjiawan Colliery.

The floods in Hunan also took out the Beijing-Guangzhou railway leaving 5,000 stranded in the capital, Changsha. 10,000 workers were sent to repair the damaged sections of line.

An estimated 33 people died in Guangdong, an important economic area near Hong Kong. Lechang was submerged under three metres of water and 1663 prisoners had to be moved from the city.

In Fujian province 43 people are reported dead. Deadly mudslides killed 10 in the city of Zhangzhou and another 10 are missing from a second mudslide.

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