Death toll climbs to 54 in China floods

11:48, 09 June 2011
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An elderly couple who went missing after their home collapsed during Tuesday`s flood in east China`s Jiangxi Province have been confirmed dead, bringing the flood`s death toll to 54, according to Xinhua.

Rescuers retrieved the couple`s bodies early Thursday, about 48 hours after torrential rains washed away their home in the province`s city of Shangrao, a county government spokesman said.

Bodies of three other deceased family members, including a young couple and their child, were retrieved on Wednesday, he said.

Heavy rains that fell in early June have eased a prolonged drought in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, but have also inundated 12 provinces in central and southern China, affecting 4.81 million people, Shu Qingpeng, deputy head of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said Wednesday at a press conference.

In the hard-hit southwestern province of Guizhou, floods have killed 21 people and left 32 missing over the past few days, forcing nearly 100,000 people to evacuate.

In Beijing, more than 1,000 thunderstrikes were recorded Tuesday night and early Wednesday. Two of the city`s residents were killed by lightning strikes during the same period.

In northern Hebei Province, rainstorms toppled a wall Tuesday evening, killing one and injuring six.

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