BEIJING — Flooding this year has killed 701 people, left 347 missing and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage, the worst toll across the board that China has seen in a decade, a senior Chinese official said today.
Three-quarters of China’s provinces have been hit by flooding and 25 rivers have seen record-high water levels, Liu Ning, general secretary of the government’s flood prevention agency, told a news conference.
Aside from the 701 dead and 347 missing, 645,000 houses were toppled and overall damage totaled about $21 billion. All the figures, Liu said, were the highest China had seen since 2000.
With the flood season far from over, this year is shaping up to be one of the most devastating since 1998, which was the worst in 50 years. Flooding, particularly along the Yangtze River Basin, has overwhelmed reservoirs, swamped towns and cities, and broken off hillsides causing landslides that have smothered communities.
Soldiers used bulldozers to plow through debris yesterday in search of survivors from separate landslides in Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, while workers in other parts of the country scrambled to drain overflowing reservoirs and pile up sandbags to prevent further flooding, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Three people were killed late Sunday night by landslides in Lingao county in Shaanxi Province that also left 17 missing, Xinhua reported.