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22 die in flooding in southwestern China
Published on: 2009-07-28
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BEIJING — Heavy flooding hit China's southwestern Sichuan province, leaving at least 22 dead and another seven missing, state media said Monday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said rainstorms pummeled a mountainous area in Panzhihua city late Sunday and early Monday. It cited the Sichuan provincial emergency office for the numbers of dead and missing in the flooding there.

Xinhua said provincial Vice Governor Zhang Zuoha was leading a delegation to assess damage and oversee the relief operation.

No other details were immediately available. Over the weekend, a landslide in the same province killed at least six people and damaged a bridge that is a link for reconstruction in areas hit by a devastating earthquake last year.

The heavy rains also triggered mud-rock flows that blocked the main highway between Sichuan and Tibet, Xinhua said in a separate report.

The landslide occurred Monday morning in Powo County, leaving more than 100 vehicles stranded by rocks and mud extending more than 70 yards (meters) on the road, police officer Chen Jun was quoted as saying. A bridge was also destroyed, he said.

A rescue team was dispatched but members had a hard time accessing the area where giant boulders had fallen. Xinhua said the team had plans to use explosives to break up the rocks.

Heavy rains and floods have hit several areas of China in the last month, with 15 hikers killed three weeks ago when they were trapped in a canyon near Chongqing, also in southwestern China.

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