China flooding kills 155, displaces 1.3 million

June 12, 2010 13:16

BEIJING — Unusually heavy seasonal flooding in China killed at least 155 people and forced more than 1 million to flee as water levels reached their highest point in more than a decade, the government reported Saturday.

Direct economic losses totaled 24 billion yuan ($6.5 billion), with large swaths of the country's southeast hit especially hard, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.Virtually all of the country's major rivers were swollen, while water levels in lakes along the Yangtze River were higher than in 1998, when catastrophic flooding killed about 4,000 people.

The office said 140,000 houses had collapsed and more than 1.3 million people had been moved to temporary shelter. Overall losses were about four times what they were last year, it said. Heavy rain has been falling since April, with 13 torrential storms on record already this season.

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