China rain, landslides leave 28 dead, 66 missing

Agence France-Presse
The storms, which began Sunday, July 7, have affected more than three million people, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said

FLOODS IN CHENGDU. This picture taken on July 9, 2013 shows residents traveling on an excavator as others commute through flooded streets in a district in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province. AFP Photo

BEIJING, China – Heavy rain across China has left at least 28 people dead and 66 missing, officials reported Thursday, July 11, after landslides crushed homes, bridges collapsed, and dozens of villages were cut off.

The storms, which began Sunday, July 7, have affected more than three million people, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on its website.

Nearly half of those — 1.45 million people — were in Sichuan, where 62 were missing, the government of the southwestern province said on its Sina Weibo microblog account.

At least 18 people died after a landslide on Wednesday, July 10, engulfed homes in Zhongxing in the province, the state news agency Xinhua reported Thursday, citing local authorities.

Footage on state broadcaster CCTV showed a wide rush of muddy water, though a reporter said levels had fallen.

Another 12 people were unaccounted for Wednesday after landslides at a village in Mianyang in the province, the Sichuan government said.

Twelve others and six vehicles were still missing after a bridge in Jiangyou city collapsed into the rushing waters on Tuesday, July 9 — one of three such incidents in Sichuan.

Other deaths spanned the country, from Beijing to the central province of Henan and Xinjiang in the far west, ministry figures showed.

Some 2,000 people trapped in a tunnel by another landslide in Sichuan were rescued on Wednesday, with television footage showing crowds walking down the middle of a road.

Emergency teams were working to clear a landslide on a road to Beichuan county that had left 40 villages cut off.

Beichuan was the epicenter in 2008 of China’s deadliest earthquake in three decades — an 8.0-magnitude tremor that left more than 87,000 people dead.

Altogether about 110,000 Sichuan residents have been relocated because of the storms, the provincial government said on Weibo, adding that it was still collating the total damage.

Officials in Zhongxing and the provincial capital Chengdu declined to comment when contacted by AFP. –

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