225 killed or missing in China rains; protests break out
Beijing : As many as 225 people have been killed or missing in heavy torrential rain and floods in China as thousands of angry residents took to streets over late disaster warning and ineffective rescue efforts.
Local authorities have evacuated nearly 3.10 lakh people due to rainstorms this week that have flattened homes and caused huge economic losses.
The toll in heavy rains this week mounted to 105 people dead and 104 others listed missing in north China’s Hubei Province, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.
Flooding and rain-triggered landslides have caused the collapse of more than 52,000 houses and damage to 1.60 lakhs.
Over seven lakh hectares of crops have also been destroyed, leading to direct economic losses of over 15 billion yuan (USD 2.2 billion), the report said.
The worst hit area was reported to be Xingtai city where at least 25 people were killed and another 13 missing, including children, after which people took to streets to protest over inadequate rescue efforts.
The news of heavy casualties in Xingtai, just 400 kms south of Beijing, only began emerging over the past 24 hours when thousands of local residents took to streets to protest against the allegedly late disaster warning and ineffective rescue efforts, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported today.
Flood waters burst river banks and submerged at least 12 villages.
Daxian village is one of the worst-hit, where at least nine people, including five schoolchildren, are dead or missing, the Post quoted media reports.
It said authorities in Xingtai initially denied any casualties.
Angry villagers blocked a main road yesterday, accusing local government of failing to alert them about the flooding.
The Post also posted an online video in which a big force of policemen is controlling large public protests.
The death toll has constantly mounted since last month as heavy rains and a typhoon battered different parts of China, causing heavy flooding and disruptions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has directed the army to rush the areas of flooding and assist relief work.