Floods kill 21 people, leave 37 missing in China

June 7, 2011 - 11:28 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Rain-triggered floods in southwestern China have killed 21 people and left 37 others missing while damaging roads, bridges and thousands of homes, officials said Tuesday.

The 21 deaths were reported in Guizhou province's Wangmo county, where 31 people were missing, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Nong Wenhai, a deputy governor of Wangmo. Another person was missing in the province's Luodian county.

Some 45,000 residents in worst-hit Wangmo county have evacuated the area flood waters inundated Monday, said Tang Quanshu of the county's flood prevention office. She said another 3,000 people were still stranded.

Meanwhile, the waters toppled 800 houses and damaged nearly 5,000, while 50 square miles (13,000 hectares) of farmland were under water, Tang said.

Xinhua, citing county flood officials, reported that the flooding disrupted power and water supplies and telecommunications services in several towns in Wangmo county, which has a population of 8 million. It said the floods destroyed roads and bridges and washed away more than 500 vehicles.

About 6,000 students from four schools had to stay at home Tuesday, as their schools were rendered inaccessible by water, the county's education chief Yan Tie said according to Xinhua.

Cao Zeying, principal of the county's No. 2 Primary School, said that flooding destroyed the school's 300-meter-long enclosure and submerged several classrooms, with waters on campus 5 feet (1.6 meters) deep on Monday.

The provincial civil affairs bureau said floods have hit 14 cities and counties in Guizhou province since June 3, affecting 400,000 people, according to Xinhua. Rain is forecast through Thursday in most of the province.