Landslides cause 7 000 to be evacuated in China

About 7 000 residents have been evacuated in south China after landslides caused by heavy rain damaged homes amid stormy weather, which has wreaked havoc in the region for days and killed dozens of people, state media said on Saturday.

The evacuees moved out of their homes in Heping County in Guangdong province after a series of landslides hit the area, state television said. It did not give any details on when the landslides occurred or if there were any injuries.

China Central Television showed footage of local officials urging residents out of buildings and examining huge cracks on walls, likely caused because foundations were loosened by torrential rain.

A man who answered the telephone at the Heping County government said the landslides occurred a week ago and no one was injured. The man, who would give only his surname, Wu, said 200 people were evacuated from one village.

A woman from the provincial Guangdong Provincial Anti-Flood headquarters said three people were reported dead on Friday and one was missing.
She hung up after refusing to give her name or any more details.

Conflicting accounts are common during the chaos of disasters as local officials are leery of releasing information for fear of retribution from higher levels of government.

In another part of Guangdong, hundreds of workers in orange life vests used sandbags to reinforce a dike on the Liuxi River, where three breeches have already been reported because of rising waters, CCTV said.

Rain storms were forecast for Guangdong in the next two days, including the major cities of Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Shenzhen, the Beijing News newspaper said.

While the June-to-August rainy season usually sets off floods and causes hundreds of deaths annually, the government says this year’s weather has triggered the worst summer flooding in parts of China in 30 years.

The hardest hit has been Fujian province, east of Guangdong.

Since the end of May, at least 45 people have been killed by floods, landslides and mud-rock flows, the China Daily said Saturday. Tens of thousands have been evacuated.

Parts of the city of Nanping submerged at one point in water as deep as 6m, the newspaper said.

On Thursday, landslides in Guangxi province, west of Guangdong, killed at least 12 people and injured 24.

Scattered deaths, injuries and flood damage have been reported further inland and to the north.—Sapa-AP

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