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Asian floods bring more misery


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Asian floods bring more misery

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BEIJING – Floods and landslides across Asia plunged millions into misery yesterday as rubble-strewn waters killed at least 127 in northwestern China and four million Pakistanis faced food shortages amid their country’s worst ever flooding.In Indian-controlled Kashmir, rescuers raced to find 500 people still missing in flash floods that have already killed 132, while North Korea’s state media said high waters had destroyed thousands of homes and damaged crops.Terrified residents fled to high ground or upper stories of apartment buildings in China’s Gansu province after a debris-blocked river overflowed during the night, smashing buildings and overturning cars.The official Xinhua News Agency said yesterday that authorities were seeking to locate an estimated 1 300 people still missing in the latest deluge in a summer that has seen China’s worst seasonal flooding in a decade. That figure was down from 2 000 earlier in the day.Worst hit was the county seat of Zhouqu in the province’s Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where houses buckled and streets were filled with mud and water.The landslides struck after heavy rains lashed China late Saturday, causing the Bailong River to burst its banks.The devastation was worsened by flotsam that blocked the river upstream, creating a two-mile-long lake that overflowed and sent waves of mud, rocks and water crashing down on the town, ripping houses from their foundations and tearing six-storeyed apartment buildings in half.Explosives experts were flying to the scene by helicopter to demolish the blockage and safely release potential flood waters ahead of more rain forecast through Wednesday.China Central Television said 45 000 people had been evacuated, but the region’s remote, mountainous location was hampering the emergency response. Narrow roads prevented the movement of heavy equipment, forcing rescuers to rely on shovels, picks and buckets.
(AP)

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