Death toll from China landslides rises

Damaged vehicles and buildings in Xiaohe, Yunnan, on 14 July 2010 Buildings were buried and vehicles turned over in the Xiaohe landslide

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Heavy rain is continuing to cause havoc across southern and central China, triggering landslides which have left dozens of people dead or missing.

The death toll from five landslides, in Yunnan, Sichuan and Hunan provinces, rose to 37, with another 40 people missing, Xinhua news agency said.

Elsewhere, villagers were evacuated as reservoirs overflowed and troops blew up a dyke to prevent further flooding.

China experiences seasonal rains but they have been severe this year.

Meteorologists say more rain is expected in central and southern China, potentially exacerbating flood problems.

Dyke blasted

In worst-hit Xiaohe, in Yunnan province, 13 people were confirmed dead after the side of a mountain collapsed before dawn on Tuesday, burying houses.

Policemen work on the breached dyke in Qingcao town, Anhui, on 13 July 2010 Heavy rain caused flooding in Anhui province

Thirty-two others were missing, a local government spokesman said.

Images from the scene showed overturned cars and toppled houses in a landscape strewn with rocks and mud.

Relief supplies were being sent to the area, state media said.

Landslides also hit rural communities in Sichuan and Hunan, killing a total of 24 people.

Flooding has also affected vast areas. In Jiangxi province, 10,000 people were evacuated from villages in the north after rain triggered flashfloods and caused three reservoirs to overflow.

In Anhui province, troops blew up part of a dyke on a swollen branch of the Yangtze to prevent floodwaters flowing into riverside villages.

But there was some good news. Officials said troops had finished digging a drainage channel from an overflowing reservoir in Qinghai and the water level was beginning to subside.

More than 10,000 people had been evacuated from the area, and there were fears that flooding could knock out power in the nearby city of Golmud.

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