Heavy rains, landslides hit China, at least 45 die

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Associated Press

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 17 at 10:04 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Heavy rains and landslides over the past week have killed at least 45 people in southern China and left 21 others missing, the country's Ministry of Civil Affairs and an official said Thursday.

Southern China was also bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Rammasun around midday Friday, with wind gusts expected to surpass 140 kilometers per hour (90 mph). The typhoon left at least 40 dead in the Philippines, where it damaged homes and knocked out power Wednesday. Rain fell in Hong Kong, which issued a strong wind advisory as the typhoon passed.

In Sichuan province, a landslide caused dirt and stone to hit a truck and four cars on a highway on Thursday afternoon, killing 11 people and injuring a further 19, according to an official in the province's Maoxian county, who only gave her surname, Li.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement that heavy rains and associated floods and landslides over the past week had killed 34 people and left 21 others missing in seven southern provinces. The bulk of these deaths and missing persons were in Guizhou and Hunan provinces.

The ministry said nearly 9,300 houses had collapsed in the rains, and a further 63,000 houses had been damaged. The rains had also affected 384,000 hectares of crops and caused direct economic losses of 5.2 billion yuan ($840 million), it said.

Chinese state television showed flooding threatening the picturesque tourist town of Fenghuang in Hunan province, with a historic arched bridge barely emerging from floodwaters.

The rains reached the capital, Beijing, on Wednesday night and flooded some streets.

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