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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Toll rises in China rain storms
A Chinese rescue worker helps an elderly resident through flood waters in Chongqing
Chongqing was hit by the heaviest rainfall since records began
At least 31 people have been killed and 171 injured in eastern China as heavy rain continues to sweep across large parts of the country.

The most recent deaths were in Jinan, capital of coastal Shandong province, which was hit by 180mm (seven inches) of rain in three hours on Wednesday.

At least 37 people died in south-west China on Tuesday in some of the heaviest rainfall since records began.

More than 400 people have died in floods and landslides in recent weeks.

Meteorologists warn that more rain is expected and the rainy season has months left to run.

Annual problem

The heavy rains that hit Jinan and the surrounding area left 31 dead, 171 injured and eight missing, China's state news agency Xinhua reports.

Electricity and water supplies were also knocked out and traffic brought to a stand-still during the heavy three-hour downpour.

Map

A day earlier, the south-western city of Chongqing and neighbouring Sichuan province were hit by a 16-hour thunderstorm that included 40,000 lightning strikes.

Chongqing received more than 26cm (10 inches) of rain, the most in a 24-hour period since records began more than a century ago.

The rain and resulting mudslides claimed the lives of 32 people in Chongqing, as well as 128 injured, and five in Sichuan. Fourteen people are still missing.

The province's weather bureau warned that more rain was forecast for north-east Sichuan, spreading south.

The weeks of bad weather have not only claimed lives, but also caused many millions of dollars worth of damage and forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

Deadly flooding is an annual problem in China, with millions of people in central and southern parts of the country living on reclaimed farmland in 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.


SEE ALSO
Record storm in S China kills 37
18 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
360 killed in China rainy season
11 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Flooding in China
10 Jul 07 |  In Pictures
Country profile: China
22 Mar 07 |  Country profiles

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