37 killed, 19 missing in torrential rains in China

Hail and torrential rain cut power in 6 townships, damaged homes, hospitals and schools and destroyed over 7,000 hectares of crops.

Beijing: The death toll from hail and rain storms in a mountainous area in northwest China has risen to 37 while 19 people remained missing.

The storms had affected 358,000 people in Minxian county in Gansu province, forcing the evacuation of nearly 30,000 local residents.

Hail and torrential rain, battered the county over two days starting Thursday, cut power in six townships, damaged several homes, hospitals and schools, disrupted traffic on two inter-provincial highways and destroyed over 7,000 hectares of crops, county authorities said.

China`s National Disaster Reduction Committee and the Civil Affairs Ministry yesterday raised the level of emergency response from level 4 to level 3, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Relief teams have taken blankets and clothing into the area.

The provincial finance bureau, meanwhile, has earmarked 2 million yuan (USD 317,460) to repair damaged water control facilities.

In the worst-hit areas, precipitation measured nearly 70 mm.

Minxian is a mountainous county in the city of Dingxi with a population of 450,000. It is located 150 km from Zhouqu county, where a rain-triggered mudslide killed more than 1,500 people in August 2010.
Thursday`s rains also triggered floods in two other counties in Dingxi, as well as parts of the city of Longnan and the Gannan Tibetan autonomous prefecture.
No deaths have been reported in those areas.


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