More rain to hit China’s flood-ravaged Henan province

XINXIANG, China (AP) — Forecasters Monday said more heavy rain is expected in central China’s flood-ravaged Henan province, where the death toll continues to rise.

The Henan provincial meteorological observatory said the hard-hit cities of Xinyang, Zhumadian, Zhoukou, Shangqiu, Kaifeng, Puyang, Xinxiang, Hebi and Anyang are likely to see the heaviest downpours.

That will complicate rescue efforts and attempts to deliver water and food as well as plug gaps in dikes, and will put more pressure on basins used to divert and hold floodwaters.

The Henan government said the number of deaths has risen to 69 with five people missing. The flooding that began July 17 has affected almost 13 million people, collapsed 8,876 homes and caused direct economic losses estimated at 13.9 billion yuan ($2 billion).

Xinxiang and other cities saw floods as the rains moved north from the provincial capital Zhengzhou, where flash floods killed more than 50 people, including 12 in the inundated subway system.

Military helicopters are being used to bring drinking water, medicine, food and other relief items to about 20,000 people in inaccessible areas.