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2 dead, 2 missing after heavy rains in Hunan

TWO people have been killed by collapsing roofs and two others are missing after heavy rain that has been falling in central China's Hunan Province since Sunday, official sources said yesterday.

Figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs showed nearly 1.7 million people in six cities and prefectures of Hunan - Shaoyang, Zhangjiajie, Huaihua, Yueyang, Changde and Xiangxi - had been affected by the storm.

Some counties in those areas told residents to evacuate before the rains hit. The two people who were killed returned to their homes to collect belongings when the roofs collapsed on them.

The ministry said 112,700 people had been evacuated to higher land due to safety concerns. It sent a team yesterday afternoon to Hunan to help with relief work and launched a grade IV emergency response, which means a 24-hour alert, daily damage reports and the sending of money and relief material within 48 hours.

According to the ministry, as of 1:30pm yesterday, 7,086 rooms had collapsed and 18,600 were damaged. Around 6,765 hectares of crops were destroyed. Direct economic losses were estimated at 1.54 billion yuan (US$224.9 million).

Suining County in Shao°?yang, which received 228.3 millimeters of rainfall during two days, was the worst hit. Two people were swept away and are still missing.

The meteorological bureau warned rain was likely to continue in southern parts of the province, which may trigger more flooding and landslides.


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