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Death toll from Saomai rises to 106, 191 still missing 2006-08-12 23:52:33

    BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from Typhoon Saomai, the strongest to hit China in half a century and now a tropical depression, has risen to 106, with at least 191 others missing, as of 11:00 p.m. Saturday, say local authorities.

    East China's Jiangxi Province reported another death on Saturday in the county of Jinxi, Fuzhou City.

    An old couple were flushed away by the flood on Friday morning when they went to check their farmland ravaged by the typhoon.

    One of the couple was confirmed dead and the other is still missing.

    This was the second death report in Jiangxi. Also on Friday, a villager was killed by a collapsed building in the province capital of Nanchang.

    The provincial meteorological department said the rainfall in two counties in Jiangxi was over 200 millimeters from Thursday to Friday and in 11 counties over 100 millimeters.

    The provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said altogether 980,000 people from the cities of Fuzhou, Nanchang, Yichun and Shangrao were affected by the downpour-triggered disasters.

    The department said Saomai destroyed six small reservoirs in Jiangxi and brought the province 348 million yuan (about 43.5 million U.S. dollars) of economic losses.

    Six people in Lishui City in east China's Zhejiang Province were killed in a landslide that was triggered by torrential rain, said Xiao Jianzhong, vice mayor of Lishui.

    Eighty-one people are dead and 11 are reported missing in Wenzhou, a booming port city of more than 1 million people which received the brunt of the typhoon.

    At least 2.1 million people have been affected and 18,000 houses destroyed in Zhejiang. The downpour has swamped 56 provincial roads and national highways.

    In Zhejiang, the typhoon caused an economic loss of 4.89 billion yuan (611 million U.S. dollars). The number of people with their houses being destroyed has not yet been estimated.

    Fujian Province reported 17 deaths and 138 missing. More than 1.45 million people have been affected and 32,700 houses destroyed.

    The typhoon also damaged 68,800 hectares of crops, shut 234 factories and mines, resulting in a direct economic loss of 6.36 billion yuan (795 million U.S. dollars) in the province.

    Saomai, the eighth typhoon in China this year, slammed into Cangnan County of Wenzhou City at 5:25 p.m. Thursday. It was downgraded to a tropical depression by 11 a.m. Friday.

    Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, who is also chief of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, urged governments to make the safety of people their top priority and work to reduce casualties and economic losses to the minimum.

    He urged local governments to prevent more floods and landslides, restore electricity and communication links and open roads as soon as possible. Enditem

Editor: Yangtze Yan
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