12 dead in south China flood

* 13 injured in south-west quake

GUANGZHOU: Twelve people have died in rain-triggered floods in south China’s Guangdong Province and neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region since Wednesday, local authorities said on Saturday.

Five people died and another is missing in a flood in Qingyuan City, Guangdong Province. As of 4 p.m. on Saturday, 649,000 people and 500,900 hectares of crops were affected by the rainstorms and 3,300 houses collapsed in the city, which caused direct economic losses of 1.809 billion yuan (293 million U.S. dollars), according to the municipal flood control and drought relief headquarters. Qingxin District in Qingyuan has been worst hit by persistent heavy rain, which has caused four small- and medium-sized reservoirs to overflow.

Rain has flooded nearly 483 villages and 12,300 homes, toppled 45 houses and trapped 454 residents, officials with Qingxin District said. In the district’s Shitan Town, although floodwater has dispersed, more than 20,000 residents lack drinking water as a reservoir has been polluted, said Liu Minyi, an official with the township government. In Qigong Township, Yangshan County, power supply has resumed in three villages and another 8 to 10 villages are expected to regain electricity tonight. In Conghua City, also in Guangdong, four people died in the rainstorms and four are missing. More than 12,000 residents have been affected and seven houses have collapsed.

Power supply was cut off in 9,413 households in Conghua. It is expected to resume in the next two days. As of 3 p.m. Saturday, 16 highways were blocked by the flooding in Guangdong. In Guangxi, three people died and nearly 280,000 people were affected by floods as of 4 p.m. Saturday. Some 15,600 people were relocated and another 8,100 are in need of daily necessities. About 22,880 hectares of crops were affected and 696 houses collapsed, which caused direct economic losses of about 200 million yuan (32.4 million U.S. dollars).

Meanwhile, at least 13 people were injured after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake jolted a county in southwest China early on Saturday morning, provincial authorities said.

The quake, which happened at 4:49 a.m. in Yingjiang County of Yunnan Province, had affected 313,000 residents in 15 towns and toppled and damaged 9,688 houses as of 7:40 p.m., according to local publicity officials. The quake has also damaged 36 schools and 9 bridges. More than 10,000 people have been relocated.

Ten injured are receiving treatment at local hospitals and three have left hospital. The epicenter was in Kachang Town of Yingjiang, which is on a quake-prone belt. The epicenter was measured at 25.0 degrees north and 97.8 degrees east, at a depth of 12 km, the China Earthquake Networks Center said. About 3,000 rescuers are working in the county to remove potential risks, set up tents and resume the power supply.

Cracks have been seen in the building of Wupai Primary School in Kachang Town. The 183 students in the school are expected to have classes in tents next Monday, according to Ke Shangfa, principal of the school. There had been 293 aftershocks by 3 p.m., according to Wei Gang, head of the county government. Residents rushed out of their homes when the quake happened. Tiles fell from some roofs and there was a power blackout in the epicenter, said Tao Jiqing, Party secretary of the county.

The provincial seismological bureau has dispatched a work team of 50 people to the region to carry out surveying, investigation and disaster evaluation work. The Yunnan Provincial Civil Affairs Department has sent 4,000 tents, 2,000 quilts and 2,000 folding beds to quake-hit areas. Yingjiang borders Myanmar. It has a population of 300,000. Yunnan lies where the Eurasian Plate and Indian Plate meet and is prone to quakes.

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