China raises flood alert to top level, 555,000 evacuated

June 17, 2011 08:42

BEIJING - China has mobilized troops to help with flood relief and raised its disaster alert to the highest level after days of downpours forced the evacuation of more than half a million people in central and southern provinces.

More than 555,000 people had been evacuated in seven provinces and a municipality after rains in recently drought-stricken areas caused floods and mudslides in the Yangtze River basin, the official China Daily said.

State media said that as of Thursday evening, floods caused by the most recent four days of rain had resulted in 19 deaths and left seven missing in Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces and Chongqing municipality.

China raised its disaster alert to the highest level 4, and the government is describing the floods in some areas, such as eastern Zhejiang province's Qianting River area, as the worst since 1955.

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