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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 June 2007, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Chinese floods leave dozens dead
A man climbs a floodgate in Zijin county, in China's Guangdong Province. 09/06/07
Half a million people have fled their homes due to flooding
Floods and landslides triggered by four days of rain in southern China have left 66 people dead and forced 600,000 to flee their homes, state media said.

At least 48,000 homes were completely destroyed in the rains, which pounded China's southern provinces.

China's civil affairs ministry said that the floods had caused an estimated $380m (284m) worth of damage.

The provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Fujian and Jiangxi were among the worst-affected regions.

Floods also damaged agricultural land and crops.

"Floods caused by heavy rains have affected about 294,800 hectares of crops, completely destroying 53,000 hectares of them," an official told China's Xinhua news agency.

Seasonal rains

Rescue teams have been sent to the area to help in relief work and search for an estimated 12 people who remain missing.

In the province of Guangxi, the rains destroyed 29 reservoirs and 162 roads and forced 59 factories to suspend production, Xinhua reports.

Seasonal rains bring flash floods to China each year.

Although towns and cities are normally protected by dykes, smaller farming communities and mountain towns are particularly vulnerable to the sudden rise in water levels.

In the country's central and southern regions, many people farm on land reclaimed from the flood plains of rivers.

Last year some 2,704 people died in flooding and typhoons in China, according to the country's Meteorological Administration.


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