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Floods Leave 252 Dead, 64 Missing as Flood Season Begins

Floods and related disasters since the beginning of June have left 252 people dead and 64 missing across China, a senior flood control and drought relief official said on Wednesday.

About 50 million people and 3 million hectares of land were affected, with around 200,000 houses destroyed, Zhang Zhitong, vice director of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, told a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

"The flood control efforts will be hampered by higher than average rains that are expected soon in the Yellow River areas, parts of northeast provinces as well as the quake zone in southwest China," Zhang said.

He promised the headquarters would take effective measures to protect people during the main flood season.

However, floods in southern China and northeast regions and typhoons along the coast had come early this year, he said.

The Pearl River delta had already embraced the worst floods in more than five decades, and the first typhoon this year was two months earlier than usual when Neoguri made a landfall in south China in April, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2008)

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