Toll rises to 114 in China rains

Beijing: At least 114 people are dead and 111 others missing in north China’s Hebei Province due to heavy rain and floods, authorities said on Saturday.

Citing provincial civil affairs bureau, Xinhua news agency reported that local authorities have evacuated nearly 310,000 people.

Flooding and rain-triggered landslides have caused the collapse of 52,900 houses and damage to 155,000. Over 700,000 hectares of crops have also been destroyed, leading to direct economic losses of over $2.4 billion.

The worst-hit Daxian Village of Xingtai City was almost empty after a flash flood swamped it early Wednesday morning. At least eight villagers were killed and one missing.

Only a dozen villagers stayed to watch over the village, while the rest residents had left to take shelter with their relatives elsewhere.

There have been power outages, disruptions to communication and other infrastructure, and road closures across Jingxing.

Nearly 30 speedboats and 300 soldiers were dispatched to repair breached levee and transfer trapped residents, and another 1,200 people joined the rescue operation.

The local government has also sent 15 working teams into 12 flooded villages to investigate the situation, comfort villagers and carry out epidemic prevention.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang presided over a national meeting on flood control and disaster relief in Beijing on Saturday, urging governments at all levels to put safety of the people first and strengthen flood control measures.

The provincial government allocated $15.7 million of emergency funds for the worst-hit places to help with relief work.