China Rains, Floods Cause Many Deaths; Beijing Hit Hard

July 23, 2012

The heaviest rain to hit Beijing in six decades killed at least 10 people [latest reports put the death toll at 37] and left cars and buses submerged, and 10 other storm deaths [now at least 17] were reported elsewhere as China braced for more downpours.

The rain Saturday night knocked down trees in Beijing and trapped cars and buses in waist-deep water in some areas. In Tongzhou district on the capital’s eastern outskirts, two people were killed by collapsed roofs, one person was fatally struck by lightning and a fourth was electrocuted by a fallen power line as he helped neighbors escape, the government’s Xinhua News Agency said.

One man in Beijing died when his car was trapped in deep water near the city center, the newspaper Beijing News said.

Elsewhere, six people were killed by rain-triggered landslides in Sichuan province in the west, Xinhua said, citing disaster officials. Four people died in Shanxi province in the north when their truck was swept away by a rain-swollen river.

On Sunday, the government warned of more storms over the following 24 hours for China’s northeast, the port city of Tianjin east of Beijing, Inner Mongolia in the north, Sichuan and neighboring Yunnan province, and Guangdong and Hainan provinces in the southeast.

China suffers flooding and dozens of storm-related deaths every summer rainy season, but such a heavy downpour in relatively dry Beijing is unusual.

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