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Storms Kill 19 in Southeast China

June 21, 2000

BEIJING (AP) _ Rainstorms crumpled houses and triggered landslides in southeast China, killing 33 people, authorities said Wednesday, heralding the onset of the often devastating Chinese summer flood season.

The storms that struck Fujian province from Saturday flooded fields and roads, cut off highways and forced the evacuation of people from villages surrounded by floodwaters, state-run newspapers reported.

One Fujian county, Longhai, got 38 centimeters (15 inches) of rain in one day, the reports said.

Initial newspaper reports said 19 people were killed. A Fujian flood official, however, said by telephone Wednesday that the death toll had risen to 33, with most of the casualties in Quanzhou city.

The East China edition of the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, said 33 people were killed in Quanzhou, with 10 more seriously injured and five missing.

The 12.6 inches of rain that fell Sunday on the Fujian port of Xiamen were the most since meteorological records began being kept 108 years ago, it added.

Heavy rains and flooding lash China, particularly its southern regions, every summer, causing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of deaths and widespread damage.

Provinces along the Yangtze, China’s longest river, were warned Tuesday to prepare for possible summer flooding following large rainfalls on the river’s upper reaches and tributaries, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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