Rains Burst Levee in Southern China, 88,000 Flee

Storms in southern China have grown more severe, according to the Associated Press:

Torrential rains burst a dike in southern China, sending 88,000 people fleeing their homes and prompting China’s top leaders to call Tuesday for stepped-up rescue operations.

Floodwaters breached the Changkai levee on the Fu River in Jiangxi province late Monday, forcing residents to relocate from their homes in the nearby city of Fuzhou, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. No casualties have been reported.

Storms have pounded southern China for more than a week, killing at least 199 people, with 123 still missing, as landslides have cut off transportation, and rivers and reservoirs have overflowed, Xinhua said.

State television showed police with pants legs rolled up, pushing boats carrying residents through shallow water. In some places, floodwaters reached nearly to the second story of buildings, while in others only the tops of trees were visible.

Wen Jiabao has visited flood-affected areas, and has urged for better response efforts. From Xinhua:

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has urged that more efforts be implemented to fight floods, while reassuring those residents living in areas ravaged by flooding and inspecting flood damage, during his visit to Wuzhou city of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which has been plagued by torrential rains.

During the two-day visit ending Sunday, Wen checked on water levels and river banks in Wuzhou, and visited households in mountainous areas, urban downtowns and rural areas, pledging the government would use all means to prevent and fight flooding.

Further, Wen called on local authorities to closely monitor weather changes and strengthen forecasting and warning systems to ensure an advanced emergency response.

Further, more efforts were demanded to prevent damages from floods and landslides, Wen said. He highlighted the importance of relief work in schools, mines, railways and roads, as well as tourism sites.


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