China Storms Kill at Least 59

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

SHANGHAI, China – Torrential rains, mud flows and lightning strikes have killed at least 59 people in China this week, state media reported Thursday.

Twenty-two people were killed when rainstorms hit Jinan, capital of eastern Shandong province, on Wednesday night, Xinhua News Agency said. Six people were missing and 142 were injured.

The city and surrounding area received a record 7 inches of rainfall over three hours, the report said. The storm disrupted traffic and cut off electricity and the water supply, the city government said, according to Xinhua.

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Earlier in the week, mudslides left 32 people dead, five missing and 128 injured on the outskirts of western Chongqing city, where 10.5 inches of rain fell between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon _ the largest volume since records began in 1892, Xinhua reported.

Landslides and lightning killed five others in neighboring Sichuan province, Xinhua said.

Traffic was gridlocked on the narrow streets of Chongqing, a hilly city that spans the Yangtze 1,000 miles west of where the river flows into the Pacific Ocean near Shanghai. Rain continued to fall on the city Wednesday and photos showed cars and buses mired in floodwaters up to their windshields.

Floods, a perennial problem in China, have killed more than 233 people and destroyed more than 118,000 homes so far this year, according to the national flood control office. Millions of people in central and southern China live on reclaimed farmland in the flood plains of rivers.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)