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China Begins Repairs on Flood-Damaged Dikes

Chinese rescuers carry their boats in to evacuate residents in Fuzhou, Jiangxi province, 24 Jun 2010

Emergency teams in flood-ravaged southern China are working to repair damaged dikes, as rising water threatens the capital of Hunan province, a city of six million people.

More than 50,000 people have been evacuated from areas of Xiangtan County near Changsha, the provincial capital. The Xiangjiang River, a branch of the Yangtze, has risen 2.5 meters above the danger level, and Chinese officials say the highest crest is still to come.

Since June 13, floods and mudslides caused by heavy rains have killed at least 211 people, and nearly 150 others are missing.

Hundreds of emergency workers and soldiers spent Friday pouring sand and rocks into two breaches in dikes along the Fuhe river near Fuzhou city in Jiangxi province, where high water has forced about 100,000 people to leave their homes on Friday.

Chinese authorities say the floods have caused more than $10 billion in damages.

Floods are an annual event in southern and central China, but the problem this year has been much worse than normal. As of Friday, authorities say floods in China have killed 377 people this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.