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China Evacuates 81,000, Searches for Mudslide Victims

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in China’s southwest after heavy rain caused hillsides to collapse, while two people died and 16 are missing following a mudslide in the country’s west, state media reported Saturday.

Meanwhile, a powerful storm lashed China’s northeast, leading to a breach in a river dike and the cancellation of at least 20 trains.

Parts of China suffer heavy rains and flooding every summer, but this year has been unusually severe in some areas, while other regions struggle with drought that is damaging crops.

Rescuers were searching for survivors after a mudslide killed at least two people Friday on the outskirts of the city of Xi’an, Xinhua reported. It said roads, bridges and power supplies were damaged.

In the southwest, some 81,000 people were evacuated from high-risk areas of Sichuan province, the China News Service reported. It said heavy rain caused hillsides to collapse and disrupted traffic, but there was no word of deaths or injuries.

The remnants of storm Khanun, downgraded from typhoon status, were forecast to dump up to 40 millimeters (1.5 inches) of rain per hour on the northeastern city of Changchun and surrounding Jilin province, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

State TV showed a 500-member military construction brigade working in the dark Friday night to close a 90-meter-long (300-foot-long) breach in a river dike in Fuyu, a city in Jilin. They drove steel rods into the ground and piled up hundreds of sandbags to fill the gap.

More than 20 trains were canceled in Shenyang, the biggest city in the northeast, and surrounding Liaoning province, according to state TV. Xinhua said the port city of Dalian in Liaoning forecast winds up to 88 kph (55 mph).

Also in the northeast, six rivers and reservoirs in Heilongjiang province were above warning levels, according to Xinhua.

Khanun pummeled parts of Japan as a typhoon before weakening over the Korean Peninsula on its way to China.

A total of 142 people nationwide were killed by flooding, landslides and mountain torrents in July, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.

The capital, Beijing, and neighboring Hebei province last week suffered their heaviest rainfall in at least 140 years, according to the government.

On Friday, the Hebei government raised the death toll in floods this month caused by Typhoon Doksuri to at least 29.

The official death toll from floods in Beijing rose to 33 this week. The government said it could take up to three years for power and other services to be completely restored.

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