42 dead, 74 missing in central, north China storms

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Beijing, July 21, AZERTAC

Rainstorms have caused severe disruptions across north and central China since Wednesday morning, causing casualties, traffic chaos and the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, according to Xinhuanet.

Torrential rain in north China's Hebei Province since Wednesday morning has left 30 people dead and 68 missing, according to the provincial civil affairs department on Thursday. About 163,900 people have been forced to leave their homes.

The department has received reports of floods and landslides damaging more than 47,713 houses and 354,600 hectares of crops, causing traffic chaos, power outages and wreaking havoc with communications.

As of Thursday noon, direct economic losses from the rain-triggered disaster reached 4.75 billion yuan(711 million U.S. dollars).

Relief supplies including tents, quilts and clothing have been distributed in the worst-hit cities including Handan, Xingtai and the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang.

In neighboring Henan Province, 12 people were confirmed dead with six unaccounted for, the provincial flood control headquarters said. Storms forced the evacuation of 105,000 people, levelled 2,110 homes and damaged 20,720 hectares of crops.

The extreme weather caused two dikes to collapse in the city of Anyang on Wednesday. Soldiers and rescue workers are attempting to close the breach.

The direct economic losses in Henan are estimated at 477 million yuan.

The National Commission for Disaster Relief and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have sent staff to assist the relief work.

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