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Friday, 9 August, 2002, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
70 die in central China floods
Trucks make their way down a highway washed away by landslides in Ma An Shan, in central Anhui province on Thursday
Many rivers have reached danger levels
At least 70 people have died in the central-southern Chinese province of Hunan after the worst rain in the region for years triggered floods and landslides.

The official Xinhua news agency said the toll could rise, because many miners were working underground when the rains hit.

Rain was still falling heavily and some rivers had reached danger levels, a provincial official said.

Four cities in Hunan, with populations totalling 3.5 million, are said to have been badly affected and almost half of Chenzhou city is under water.

Emergency teams have been sent to affected areas to help rescue efforts.

So far this year, 900 people have been killed in storms in China.

Flood, drought, fire

Many died when torrential rain in several provinces in early June caused flash flooding and landslides.

The north of the country, by contrast, is suffering a severe drought, threatening millions of farmers and large areas of crops.

Many rural households have had no rainfall since late July.

Meanwhile more than 5,000 firefighters and forest rangers have been battling 10 forest fires in the Inner Mongolia region, five of which have been extinguished.

See also:

22 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
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