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Storms bring flooding along the Yangtze

Chongqing: Water levels in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River increased dramatically yesterday as a result of torrential rain and flooding in Hubei Province, authorities told the China Daily.
Storms have lashed the central China province six times during the current rainy season, causing 958 million yuan (US$126.6 million) in economic losses.
More rain is forecast for the upper reaches of the Yangtze over the next few days, hydrology bureau officials said.
The rising tide won't affect Shanghai, however, according to the city's flood control headquarters. Shanghai lies at the mouth of the Yangtze, where the river is four to nine kilometers wide and allows easy passage of floodwater to the sea, officials said.
The water level in Hanchuan City in Hubei, however, reached 29.01 meters yesterday, slightly above its alarm stage.
Also yesterday, a third flood crest passed without harm through the Wangjiaba section of the Huaihe River.
The water level monitored at Wangjiaba, a key hydrological station on the middle reaches of the river, rose to 28.95 meters at 11am, compared with a warning line of 27.5 meters. It fell back to 28.94 meters at noon.
"About 380,000 people are guarding the banks of the river in Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces," said Cheng Dianlong, a flood control headquarters vice director.
Near-continuous rain has swamped southwestern Anhui Province and the northern part of the Huaihe river since last weekend, killing at least 30 people in 15 cities.
By Sunday, 60,000 houses had collapsed, 585,000 people were forced to relocate, and 300,000 were suffering from drinking water shortages. Economic losses have reached 9.17 billion yuan in the province.
Across China, torrential rain and flooding since late last month have led to the deaths of at least 403 people and 31.9 billion yuan in economic losses, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
Up until May the Yangtze had been suffering from one of the worst droughts in living memory.  [18/07/07]

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