YILIANG, Yunnan, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- A heavy downpour has hit southwest China's earthquake-hit county of Yiliang early Tuesday morning, triggering floods to cut off roads and force thousands to evacuate.
The local fire department has dispatched 22 rescue teams to help evacuate people to safe places after receiving calls for help before dawn.
Rainfall in the mountain region in Yunnan Province reached an average 152 millimeters within seven hours, causing floods at a dozen temporary settlements where thousands of earthquake victims live, said a spokesman with the provincial fire department.
There are still around 100 victims and rescuers trapped, he said.
The county's headquarter of flood control and drought relief said the rainfall is the largest in local meteorological history. It has damaged the county's drinking water supply pipeline and an alternative water source.
The flood is set to delay the post-quake relief work as all roads linking the county with elsewhere have been cut off. A Xinhua reporter said motor vehicles which stuck on a road as long as ten kilometers inched forward very slowly.
Landslide and mud-rock flows triggered by the rain also aggravated the disaster relief work in Yiliang, where multiple earthquakes have claimed 81 lives since Friday.
Four days after the 5.7-magnitude earthquake, traffic to rural sectors of the county remained blocked and telecommunications disconnected. This has made it difficult for disaster relief personnel to carry out rescue efforts and collect casualty information.
A bridge in front of the county's hospital was submerged by river flooding on Tuesday morning.
Fu Qirong, a nursing supervisor in a hospital, said the flood water gushed into the facility gate at midnight, and water on the ground floor was waist deep.
"The hospital allowed some 100 earthquake victims camping on the square in front of the hospital to enter the building, as the flooding occurred," she said.
The five-storey hospital is now crowded with patients huddling in corridors.
Disaster relief officials said nearly all camping sites were soaked with rainwater. They are trying to build more makeshift houses for the campers.
At the Luobinghui Square in the county seat, Li Zhangyin, a victim from Baoping Village, said his family moved there after their homes toppled in the earthquake Friday. Although the tents are soaked, the settlement site is a relatively safe place.