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Over 500 Feared Dead in China Floods - 2002-06-19


More than 500 people are now feared dead in floods that have stricken parts of China. And China is bracing for devastation as more rain is on the way.

Torrents of rain began June 8 in north China's Shaanxi Province, where 152 people are known dead. Officials say another 300 are missing and are "unlikely to be found alive." Dozens more are believed dead in western regions.

State television reports more rain is expected in the next few days and some are moving south. Rainstorms are expected to hit Jiang Xi, Zhe Jiang, Fujian, and Gui Zhou provinces, as well as Guang Xi Zhuang autonomous region. Some of these areas will suffer torrential rains.

Some of China's military has been mobilized to reinforce flood controls and clean up teams have been working in devastated areas.

Chinese officials say they have spent more than $16 billion on flood control projects since 1998's disastrous floods killed four thousand people. The government says it will spend more money to clean up this year's mess and on efforts to prevent future floods.

Scientists suggest the El Nino weather phenomena or global warming could to blame for the early and unusually heavy summer rains here in parts of China.

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