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50 dead as storm havoc spreads

One person was killed in north China's Shanxi Province on Sunday, bringing the death toll of rains and storms since last Wednesday to 50, officials said yesterday.

The 17-year-old girl was killed when a landslide hit the Xiaofu Village of Jichang Township in Shanxi. Villagers there live in traditional cave houses, and the girl was killed as she was trying to escape, said an official with the Jixian County weather bureau. Other dwellers were evacuated. The rainfall total reached 81.8 millimeters, said the official.

Storms have hit Shanxi since last Wednesday, where maximum wind speeds reached 27.5 meters per second in Yuncheng City in the south.

In the Lingqiu County of Datong City, thunderstorms and hail damaged 32,588 houses and about 8,500 hectares of crops.

The disaster relief office in the eastern Anhui Province said 21 people were killed by falling trees, collapsed roofs or in boating accidents. Four were missing and 215 others were injured.

The storms also destroyed 15,700 houses and damaged 90,400 others, which led to the relocation of about 7,000 people to the homes of relatives or friends. Crops on 205,400 hectares of farmland were damaged, according to the office.

The civil affairs department in the central Henan Province reported four more deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 24.

Shandong and Jiangsu provinces were also hit by the storm from last Wednesday, but the number of casualties is not yet known.

In southwestern Guizhou Province, torrential rain since Sunday triggered a landslide which killed four people in the Daozhen County of Zunyi City, where the rainfall total reached 84.4 millimeters. One other person was injured. A total of 669 houses were damaged, of which 30 collapsed.

The rain destroyed about 367 hectares of crops and forced the evacuation of 712 people.

In the central Hubei Province, some 624,500 people in seven counties and cities were affected by storms. Three people were injured and 654 were relocated.

Beijing saw the heaviest rain this summer yesterday, the last day of the annual college entrance exam. The power supply at the Chen Jinglun (Chan King-Luen) High School in the Chaoyang District was cut by a lightning strike at 1:19pm. It resumed 28 minutes later. As the exam in the afternoon was from 3pm to 5pm, the students were not affected.

More rain is expected to hit Anhui, Hubei, Jiangxi and Guangdong today and rain and hail storms were forecast for Shanghai, Jiangsu, Liaoning and Beijing.


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