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Last Updated: Monday, 13 June, 2005, 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK
Chinese school flood kills scores
Soldiers search for bodies along a river in Shalan - 13/6/05
Soldiers and rescue workers are searching for the missing
The death toll from a flash flood which hit a Chinese primary school on Friday has risen to 92, with more than a dozen people still missing.

Eighty-eight of the dead were young children trapped in their classrooms when the waters surged.

Local officials in the town of Shalan, in Heilongjiang province, are being investigated for negligence, the official Xinhua news agency said.

In a separate disaster, a hotel fire killed 31 people in Guangdong.

The death toll from the Shalan flooding was expected to rise as officials were searching for at least 15 people still missing, 13 of them children.

More than 350 children between six and 14 years old were enrolled at the school, though it was not clear how many were attending when the waters hit.

The flooding was caused by very sudden and heavy rain, which a local water resources official said happened only once every 200 years.

But there have also been complaints that the village of Shalan and the school were built in a low-lying area prone to flooding, known as the Shalan ditch.

Flooded school in Shalan - 10/6/05
Rescue workers are still hunting for the missing

There have also been angry protests by local people who said their early appeals for help had been ignored, according to a BBC correspondent in Beijing.

Bodies floating

China's media has been reporting the first eye-witness accounts of the disaster and its aftermath.

Jia Yibo, father of one of the dead children, told China Daily that he arrived at the school to find 40 small bodies floating in waist-deep water.

Three children and a teacher were stranded on a window sill.

"My son was placed on a desk and the desk's surface was only a little higher than the water level," Jia said.

"His nose, ears and mouth were filled with mud and garbage, and when I touched him, I found he was dead," the paper quoted him as saying.

Xinhua said that Shalan's Communist Party and police chief were under investigation for negligence, amid allegations they failed to respond quickly enough to the disaster or organise a rescue operation.

An enquiry is also under way into the hotel fire, which swept through the top floors of a hotel in Shantou, a city in China's southern Guangdong province.

The official China Daily newspaper reported that firefighters were not called to the scene for 35 minutes, staff did not know how to inform guests or the fire brigade what was happening, and that the hotel had been decorated with flammable instead of flameproof materials.

Watch devastation caused by floods

China school flood kills scores
11 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Deaths from China floods top 200
05 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: China
02 Jun 05 |  Country profiles


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