Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Torrential rains destroy 1,300 homes in south China

Sudden torrential downpours in China's southeastern province of Guangdong destroyed more than 1,300 houses and forced 20,000 people from their homes, the official Xinhua agency reported late on Tuesday.

The rainfall and thunderstorms also delayed flights to the province's largest airport and destroyed thousands of acres of crops, the paper said, adding that nearly 20 cm (7.9 inches) of rain were recorded in some areas over Monday and Tuesday.

A recent national assessment of the likely impact of global warming said the country's south could face more flooding as temperatures rise.

Last year, China's warmest since 1951, the country was struck by an unusually high number of natural disasters, including a series of storms and typhoons.

Every year, 400 million people and 50 million hectares (125 million acres) of farmland are affected by natural disasters in China, with economic losses reaching 1 to 3 percent of gross domestic product.

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