Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 17:38 UK

Deadly tornado and storms hit south-western China


State media report fatalities caused by storm, floods and landslides

Severe storms and a tornado have killed at least 39 people near the city of Chongqing in south-western China.

State news agency Xinhua reported that at least 150 others were injured after heavy rain, a hail storm, gales and a tornado struck two rural districts.

Rescue work was underway in Liangping and Dianjiang districts, Xinhua said, and some 70,000 people were temporarily evacuated from areas near Chongqing.

The storms destroyed some 1,000 homes, damaged crops, and caused power cuts.

Local reports said almost 1,000 homes in Chongqing - a municipality of more than 30 million people - had partially collapsed and thousands more were damaged.

A nurse at a hospital in the area told the BBC that equipment was damaged when power was lost. She said she could see several uprooted trees and houses with broken windows.

The BBC's South China correspondent, Chris Hogg, says most of the houses damaged were the older type of Chinese dwellings with tiled roofs. Most of the roofs blew off and the weaker houses collapsed.

Up to 157mm (6.5in) of rain had fallen in parts of the region from late Wednesday to Thursday afternoon, the China News Service said.

The storms were caused by a heatwave from the south colliding with a northern cold front, it added.

The worst affected area reported winds of more than 100km/h (62mph).

Local government has told the BBC it will take two days to restore power.

Our correspondent says tornadoes which kill are relatively rare in China.

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