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Rainfall claims 22 lives

A RAINSTORM which began last Thursday has killed at least 22 people in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and the neighboring Sichuan Province, the local governments said yesterday.

In Chongqing, 20 people were confirmed dead in the four worst-hit counties in the Three Gorges reservoir area: Chengkou, Yunyang, Kaixian and Wanzhou, the municipal weather office said.

The death toll among a group of hikers washed away by a flash flood in the Tanzhangxia Canyon of Wanzhou on Saturday rose to 16 yesterday with the recovery of another body. Three of the 35-member group are still missing.

The weather office said average rainfall in the four counties totaled 100mm from Thursday to Monday.

"Shuanghe Village in Chengkou County reported 514mm of rain," it said.

The four-day rainstorm led to the collapse of 1,686 homes and destroyed 4,900 hectares of cropland in these counties, the local government said.

The rain had lessened to drizzle in most counties by Monday night, the weather office said.

Two deaths were reported in Sichuan's Dazhou City, which borders Chongqing. The city government said the rainstorm and subsequent problems had affected 166 villages, left two people missing and 89 injured, and cut off power supplies and communication in 16 townships and villages.


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