Floods Trap 30,000 in China's Northeast

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Agence France Presse

Floods Trap 30,000 in China's Northeast

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China is struggling with its worst flooding in a decade that has left 1,405 dead or missing since the beginning of the year and caused at least 26 billion dollars in damage, and authorities have warned of more to come. (AFP)

BEIJING - More than 30,000 people are thought to be trapped by floodwaters in a town in northeast China, state media said Wednesday, as torrential rain that has killed over 300 in two weeks continues.

China is struggling with its worst flooding in a decade that has left 1,405 dead or missing since the beginning of the year and caused at least 26 billion dollars in damage, and authorities have warned of more to come.

In the central city of Wuhan, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated as authorities brace for flood crests from the Yangtze River and one of its tributaries to converge there.

More than 200 rescue workers have been sent to northeastern Jilin province's Kouqian town to reach 30,000 residents thought to be trapped after a nearby reservoir overflowed, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The local train station was also surrounded by water with over 80 people trapped inside, it said.

Factories and houses have been submerged by floods that have reached highs of three metres (10 feet) in some places and residents are trying to escape to higher buildings, the official China News Service reported.

Jilin is the latest province to have been hit by recent deadly floods that have killed 333 people since July 14 and left another 300 missing, according to the latest official figures.

Until now, torrential rains have mostly hit China's south, swelling the Yangtze River -- the nation's longest waterway -- and some of its tributaries to dangerous levels.

Engineers at the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze have already coped with two flood crests, but both passed largely without incident as the dam's massive spillgates released torrents of water.

But authorities are now worried about Wuhan, capital of the central province of Hubei located downstream from the dam, where the flood peaks from the Yangtze and its tributary the Han River are set to converge.

Thousands of soldiers and emergency workers are laying down sand bags along the rivers in the nine-million-strong city, which is a major transport and economic hub, Xinhua said in a separate report.

In the nearby city of Xiantao, workers are on standby to open flood gates and divert water from the Han River to a walled low-lying area covering 450 square kilometres (180 square miles).

Meanwhile, in central China's Henan province, rescuers were searching for 22 people still missing four days after a bridge collapsed amid flash floods, killing 44 people, Xinhua said, citing rescue headquarters.

The bridge collapsed in the city of Luoyang on Saturday and nearly 100 people were thrown from it into the raging Yi river, it said.

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