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Rains Threaten at Least 2 Mln

Torential rains continued to lash China on Wednesday, affecting at least two million people, disrupting traffic and threatening reservoir safety.

More than 4,000 houses collapsed as the heavy rains hit the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi in eastern China and the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

In Zhejiang, the rain affected more than 930,000 people and more than 70,000 hectares of crops, halting production at 286 factories and forcing the closure of 115 roads, local officials said.

Water levels in at least five reservoirs in the province had risen above warning levels by 5am yesterday.

Preliminary estimates put the losses at 860 million yuan (US$124 million).

Meteorological authorities in Zhejiang said the region would face more heavy rains in two days and warned local government officials of possible flood dangers.

In Guangxi, where one person was killed and around 920,000 were affected, the heavy rain brought down more than 1,000 houses, affected 40,000 hectares of crops, forced the closure of 149 roads and damaged 20 reservoirs. Damage to power lines and irrigation facilities was also reported.

Heavy rains were expected tomorrow, posing pressure to flood control in Wuzhou, a city near Guangxi's border with Guangdong Province.

The city was ravaged by the worst flooding in 100 years in 2005.

In the eastern Jiangxi Province, rainfall exceeded 300mm in three counties and 200mm in another 43 in just three days, and seven small reservoirs were at risk.

The Raohe River, one the five major rivers in Jiangxi, saw the largest flood in a decade. Some low-lying areas in Nanchang, the provincial capital, and Jingdezhen were flooded.

More than 2,300 houses collapsed and 2.05 million people were affected, 47,000 of whom were evacuated.

The National Meteorological Center said rain will sweep across Shanghai, and Jiangsu, the quake-hit Sichuan, Hunan, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces in the next few days.

(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2008)

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