Mon, Jul 23, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Ten dead as most rain in over 60 years hits Beijing

AFP, BEIJING

Rescuers and residents stand next to a car that is being pulled up from a flooded street under the Guangqumen overpass amid heavy rainfall in Beijing, China, on Saturday.

Photo: REUTERS

The heaviest rain to hit Beijing in more than 60 years left at least 10 people dead and forced more than 50,000 to evacuate, state media said yesterday.

Torrential rain pounded Beijing throughout Saturday before easing, but more downpours were forecast yesterday for northeast and southwest China, where at least 10 others were reported dead over the weekend, Xinhua news agency said.

The rainstorms led to the evacuation of more than 50,000 people in the capital, mostly from Beijing’s outlying mountainous districts, as up to 46cm of rain lashed some areas, the agency said.

A policeman who was electrocuted by a fallen power line during a rescue operation was among the fatalities in Beijing, while others were killed in traffic accidents and roof collapses, Xinhua said.

One woman died after her car was engulfed with water in an underpass on the capital’s central second ring road that was flooded with up to 3m of water.

Three bodies were recovered yesterday in Beijing’s mountainous Fangshan region, where several landslides were reported, China National Radio reported, but it was not clear if they were included in the death toll of 10.

Up to 46cm of rain fell in Fangshan District, the most rain to hit the city in a 14-hour period since records began in 1951, Xinhua said.

The death toll was expected to rise, with media reports yesterday saying numerous people, including rescue workers, were missing. The government flood control headquarters said that damage assessments were ongoing.

Photographs showed entire parking lots flooded by the rain, while rescue and traffic workers were seen diving underwater to unclog roadside drains as helpless drivers looked on from partially submerged cars.

Numerous roads in the capital were submerged under up to 1m of water, while 500 outbound flights were canceled and at least 80,000 passengers stranded.

Yesterday, clean-up crews were out repairing damage under largely sunny skies, while workers scrambled to drain up to 1 million cubic meters of water from the sewer system.

Despite the damage, the rain was largely welcomed in drought-prone northern China, which has suffered from a lack of rain over the past decade.

More torrential rain was forecast in China’s northeast and southwest, after at least 10 other people were killed since Friday.

In Shanxi Province, four people died and one remained missing after their pick-up truck was swept into a river as they attempted to cross a bridge, Xinhua said.

Landslides in Sichuan Province resulted in six deaths, provincial flood control and drought relief officials told the agency.

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