Death toll in China flooding climbs to 211

With 2.4 million people already evacuated and 119 still missing, forecasters anticipate heavy rains to continue

Published June 23, 2010 5:05PM (EDT)

The death toll from summer flooding across a wide swath of southern China climbed to 211 on Wednesday, as a river in Jiangxi province overflowed its banks but did not cause any additional casualties, authorities and state media said.

The misery in the area of 10 provinces, regions and municipalities was expected to continue, with forecasters saying heavy rains were expected for the next three days.

The Fuhe River breached its banks Wednesday morning, but residents had been moved to safety the night before, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It came two days after a dike on another portion of the river burst, forcing the evacuations of about 100,000 people.

No casualties related to the breaches were reported, but the Ministry of Civil Affairs said the death toll from more than a week of storms had reached 211. The ministry said 119 people remained missing and a total of 2.4 million people have been evacuated.

China Central Television showed paramilitary personnel stacking sandbags in knee-deep mud and carrying people on their backs across fast-moving water. Rescuers in boats have been moving residents to safety, some of them holdouts who refused to leave their homes despite the threat of flooding, CCTV said.

China sustains major flooding annually along the Yangtze and other major rivers, but this year's floods have been especially devastating. Direct economic losses were estimated at 43.3 billion yuan ($6.4 billion), the ministry said.

By Associated Press

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