Rain kills 15 in southwest China as Xi urges better defences

Beijing, July 5 (BNA): Heavy rains have killed 15 people in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, media reported Wednesday, as President Xi Jinping called for greater efforts to protect the public from severe weather.

Torrential rains have caused devastating floods and deadly mudslides in recent weeks, while hailstorms and unusually high temperatures, which many people believe are a consequence of global warming, have wreaked misery in many parts of the country.

In the sprawling city of Chongqing, floods have forced thousands from their homes, destroyed bridges, and washed away homes and cars.

In addition to the 15 people killed in recent days, four were missing as of early Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported, citing authorities.

The latest round of heavy rains has disrupted the lives of more than 130,000 people and damaged more than 7,500 hectares of crops, Xinhua reported.

The state broadcaster CCTV said the floods caused economic losses of 227.8 million yuan ($31.5 million) in Wanzhou district, northeast of Chongqing.

Xi demanded that authorities at all levels give top priority to ensuring the safety of people and property, and called on the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and the Ministries of Emergency Management and Water Resources to improve coordination and warnings.

The Ministry of Finance and Emergency Management announced 320 million yuan of emergency funds for disaster relief assistance, including in Chongqing.

The Ministry of Water Resources has launched emergency responses to floods in Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, CCTV reported.

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And state media reported that heavy rains are expected on Wednesday in those areas.


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