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13 killed, over 60 unaccounted for in China rains


Heavy downpours in northern China have claimed more than a dozen lives, as officials keep releasing updated figures on the death toll and the number of missing people.

State media said Wednesday that torrential rain has been pounding Hebei province around the capital, Beijing, over the past two days and at least 13 people have died ever since, while 62 others are unaccounted for.

The downpour has caused all major rivers to inundate their banks. It has also inflicted damage on 11 dams and two hydropower stations. Reports said about 68,000 people have been relocated after the provincial land resources bureau warned of flooding, landslides and mountain torrents.

The rainfall also affected some neighborhoods of the capital as water submerged some roads by more than two meters. Local newspapers said there was a general delay in the traffic in Beijing while some subway stations reported

leaks. Hundreds of flights were also canceled to and from Beijing’s main international airport. The rail authority in the city said some high-speed rail services were also delayed.

A red alert has been issued for rainstorms in Hebei. The city government of Beijing issued a second-class orange alert on Wednesday, warning that it expects a total of 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) of rain in some areas and that the downpours will continue overnight.

A man makes his way through a flooded street on a scooter in Beijing on July 20, 2016. ©AFP
Torrential rains are mostly common in southern China, while the north, which is known for its arid weather, is also affected in the summer monsoon seasons. Eighty people were killed in 2012, when worst rains in more than 60 years hit Beijing.

Floods caused heavy damage earlier this year in several major cities in the south, including Wuhan in the central province of Hubei.

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