After torrential rains and a violent hailstorm, 40 people were left dead in Gansu province. The region is in the northwestern part of China and is known for the mountainous terrain. BBC reports:
The official Xinhua news agency also said another 18 people were still missing following the storms on Thursday in Gansu province.
The agency said more than 350,000 people had been affected by the storms – with 30,000 of them forced to evacuate homes.
Relief teams are said to have reached the affected area in Minxian county.
County officials said many roads had been blocked, homes destroyed and farmland ruined by the rainstorms.
The downpours were said to have lasted only about an hour but brought up to 70mm of rain in some parts.
According to Xinhua, the rains and cold have made it difficult for rescue teams to reach the victims:
Roads were blocked, houses collapsed, farmland destroyed and power supplies and telecommunications services disrupted by the extreme weather, Xu Guangyao, director of the county’s civil affairs bureau, said after the disaster.
Some roads were still blocked Sunday, making it difficult for relief vehicles to pass through.
Workers in bulldozers and excavators were trying to clean up the road, but rains hindered their efforts.
Although nearly 1,000 tents, 1,270 beds and other relief supplies had been sent to the disaster-hit area, local residents were still in need of more relief supplies, such as heavy coats and stoves, because of the freezing weather.
This is not the first incident of weather related accidents in the region. AFP added that different counties have been struck by mudslides and hailstorms:
Min county is 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Zhouqu county, where a rain-triggered mudslide killed about 1,500 people in August 2010.
Hailstorms in the central province of Hunan have also killed six people and left one missing, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Sunday, Xinhua reported.
Since May 8 hailstorms have struck across the province, affecting 3.42 million people, the ministry said. About 64,000 people have been relocated to safer areas and 7,600 houses have collapsed.