Flooding in central China kills 41; 33 missing

BEIJING, China Torrential rains from Thursday night until early Friday triggered floods and landslides that toppled homes and destroyed river embankments in Hubei province, killing 22 people and leaving five others missing, Xinhua News Agency said.

A total of 111,000 people from the cities of Xiangyang, Huanggang and Xianning were relocated to safer places, Xinhua reported, citing local civil affairs authorities.

The cities of Yueyang and Changde in neighboring Hunan province also reported 19 deaths and 28 people missing following landslides early Friday.

In Xiannang's submerged Tongcheng county, over 11.8 inches (300 millimeters) of rainfall fell within four hours, a record volume, while flood waters in its low-lying areas were more than 6 feet (2 meters) deep, Xinhua reported. Electricity and telephone services had been cut off by the floods.

Flooding also wreaked havoc in southeast China. In Jiangxi province's Xiushui county, about 26,000 people were evacuated and 1,200 stranded after their homes were hit by torrential rains early Friday.

Meanwhile, a tropical storm may become the first to land in China this year, local meteorological authorities said Friday. Tropical Storm Sarika was located about 330 miles (530 kilometers) south of the city of Shantou in southern Guangdong province and was predicted to make landfall in Guangdong or nearby Fujian province Saturday, according to the provincial meteorological station.

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