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Rainstorm kills at least 22 in Chongqing

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

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 Saturday rose today to 16 with the recovery of another body. As of today, 16 people from the 35-member self-organized group had been rescued and three remain missing.

A weather office press release said the average rainfall in these four counties totaled 100 mm from Thursday to Monday. "Shuanghe Village in Chengkou County reported 514 mm of rain," it said.

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

The weather forecast said heavy rain had lessened to drizzle inmost counties last night, and Chongqing's city proper embraced sunshine this morning.

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

Strong gales and heavy rain also battered Fujian Province on the southeastern border, affected by tropical low pressure system whose center arrived in the province at 4 am today. It was moving northward at 20 to 25 km per hour, packing winds up to 60 km per hour and heavy rain in the coastal regions, said the provincial weather office.


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