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September 1, 2009

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120,000 evacuate after heavy rains

HEAVY rain that began on Thursday has led to the deaths of eight people and the evacuation of more than 120,000 in southwestern China's Chongqing Municipality and neighboring Sichuan Province, local flood control authorities said yesterday.

It caused mud-rock flows and landslides and destroyed thousands of homes. Up to 160 millimeters fell in the worst-hit counties.

In Chongqing, a villager in Dazu County died on Sunday after he stepped on a live wire that had broken in the rainstorm, said Yan Yonghui, deputy chief of the municipal flood prevention office.

He said the downpour caused a blackout on the weekend in Dazu County, where 26 high-tension power lines were destroyed.

About 7,000 people had been evacuated in the 11 worst-hit counties and districts of Chongqing by 7am yesterday, said Yan.

"At least 198,000 more people suffered damage to their houses and croplands."

A total of seven people were killed and another two were missing in Sichuan Province, where nearly 6,000 homes toppled and 118,000 people were evacuated, said Yang Jingping, deputy chief of the provincial government's emergency office.

The deluge swelled most rivers and lakes in southwestern China.

On Saturday, a swollen river in Chongqing's Wuxi County overflowed and washed away five cars.


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