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Thousands threatened by China dyke breach

Reuters

Chinese authorities on Tuesday rushed to evacuate 12,000 people threatened by a dyke breach as the death toll increased to 200 due to widespread flooding across the nation's south.

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Rescue workers have already evacuated 68,000 people from areas around the Changkai dyke in Jiangxi province that collapsed after a swollen river burst its banks, China's official Xinhua news agency said.

The agency also added that water in a reservoir upstream from the dyke had exceeded danger levels, further threatening the thousands who have not yet been evacuated.

Torrential rains continue to batter south and central China. Persistent downpours since 13 June and resulting floods and landslides have left 199 people dead and another 123 missing. And China’s National Meteorological Centre has warned of more heavy rain to come over the next 24 hours.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have both called for stepped-up efforts to battle the flooding which has already forced the evacuation of 1.7 million residents, Xinhua said.

Chinese state television broadcast images of rescuers in Jiangxi throwing ropes to stranded flood victims clinging desperately to submerged trees amid raging torrents and pulling them to safety.

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