10,000 people evacuated in south-western China

At least 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes in south-western Sichuan province as a river burst its banks and heavy rains continued in flood-hit regions.

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2010, 20:33 PM IST

Beijing: At least 100,000 people were
evacuated from their homes in south-western Sichuan province as
a river burst its banks and heavy rains continued in flood-hit
regions.

The people were evacuated from their homes after
torrential rains caused waters to rise sharply in the Jialing
River, a provincial news website said.

The Jialing is a major tributary of the Yangtze,
China`s longest river.

In Shaanxi province, the Luofu river burst its banks
in Huayin city, forcing 6,400 people from their homes,
official Xinhua news agency reported.

"Water has begun pouring through a 50-meter breach at
6 am at Huayin City and the gap had widened to 80 meters by 4
pm," said Dang Decai, Secretary of Huayin City committee of
the Communist Party of China.

More than 500 people were battling to strengthen the
remaining river banks and would block the breach as soon as
conditions permitted, he said.

"Stones and bags have arrived at the site. About 16
square km of land will be flooded," the news agency quoted him
as saying.

River inspectors noticed the fast-rising water level
in the Luofu, a tributary of the Weihe River, and alerted
Huayin flood control officials at around 3 am, he said.

Torrential rains pounded Huayin City today.

Floods in China this year had left 742 people dead and
367 missing as of today since July 1, according to the State
Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

Floods have hit 28 provinces, regions and
municipalities, affecting 120 million people and swamping 7.

6 million hectares of crops, according to the headquarters.
They have destroyed 670,000 homes and resulted in
direct economic losses of 152.4 billion yuan ( USD 22.51
billion).

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who visited some of the
flood hit areas, has ordered local governments to adopt
scientific measures to prepare well for "more serious floods
and disasters" as some of the country`s major rivers saw water
levels surpass their warning levels.

Wen said China was at a "crucial stage" for flood
control.

The upper reaches of the Yangtze, the nation`s longest
river, have seen the highest flood peak since 1987, and water
levels on its middle and lower reaches were over the warning
levels for the first time since 2003.

Wen ordered local governments to step up patrols and
guard against potential risks to ensure the safety of major
rivers, large and medium-sized reservoirs and key
infrastructure facilities.

PTI