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Report: China Flood Death Toll Up to 38

September 2, 2003

BEIJING (AP) _ Heavy flooding in northern China has killed 38 people with another 34 people missing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

Rains pounding Shaanxi province over the past weeks caused rivers to overflow and sparked mudslides, Xinhua said. More than 30,000 soldiers and militia helped residents shore up river embankments against further flooding, it said.

Xinhua didn’t say when the deaths occurred, but earlier reports said at least 21 people have died since rain began falling Aug. 24.

Rescuers were at work in the remote Shaanxi village of Yongquan, where the mud-rock flow damaged 14 houses, Xinhua said, without providing other details.

Meanwhile, troops were in the Shaanxi city of Weinan, where embankments along the Weihe river burst and forced the evacuation of over 150,000 residents from four counties, said an official at Weinan’s flood control office who gave only his family name, Wang.

He said floodwaters were beginning to recede. Flooding hit record highs on Monday, Xinhua said.

Xinhua said direct economic losses have been estimated at $240 million. More than 430,000 people have been relocated away from disaster areas, 50,000 houses destroyed and roads, telephone lines and electricity and water supplies cut, Xinhua said.

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