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Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
China flood toll rises
Map
Rescuers in Ziyang have recovered another 80 bodies
By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Beijing

Rescue workers have recovered more bodies after a devastating flash flood in northwest China, bringing the total number killed to more than 200.

In the last few days rescue workers have dug more than 80 bodies out of the mud.

Flood
Flooding is becoming an increasingly serious problem
The flood, which hit the county of Ziyang in Shaanxi province late last week, swept away thousands of buildings and triggered deadly landslides.

The latest deaths bring the number killed by flooding this year in China to nearly 650.

That's more than double the number killed in the same period last year and comes before the peak of the flood season.

Danger level

China's rainy season reaches its height in the next few weeks and officials are warning that water levels on both the Yangtze and Yellow rivers are already well above danger level.

China has been plagued by flooding for centuries, but major floods are becoming more and more frequent -- one reason is environmental destruction.

Two years ago more than 4,000 people died in China's worst flooding in half a century.

In its aftermath the government banned all logging on the upper reaches of the Yangtze river.

But they admit it will take decades, if not centuries, to repair the damage already done.

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See also:

09 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
China's floods: Is deforestation to blame?
04 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
China floods leave millions homeless
14 Jul 99 | Asia-Pacific
China tries to combat floods
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