June 15, 2008 / 5:51 AM / in 10 years

China floods kill 55, more rain expected

Locals paddle on a flooded street in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region June 13, 2008. REUTERS/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) - At least 55 people have been killed over the past 10 days in torrential rain and flooding across south China, and more gales and storms were expected in the coming days, the government said on Sunday.

Another 1.3 million had been forced to flee to higher ground, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a notice on its Web site, adding that it had despatched disaster prevention teams to the affected areas to aid local authorities.

State television showed submerged streets and houses in towns along the Xijiang river in the southern regions of Guangdong and Guangxi.

China’s National Meteorological Centre said heavy rain would continue there and that precipitation in the provinces of Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan would be 30 to 70 percent greater than in the same period last year.

Last week the storms brought havoc to Hong Kong, where they sparked flooding and landslides and resulted in closed roads and delayed flights.

The flooding and foul weather is the latest in a string of disasters to befall China this year.

The same provinces were also badly hit by freak cold weather and ice storms in January and February, and the country is still reeling from the May 12 quake that devastated Sichuan province and killed more than 69,000.

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