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Flooded river reaches highest level

A flooded river in eastern China is at its highest level in more than 50 years, and thousands of train passengers were stranded after landslides buried parts of a railway line in the south west, officials said.

Flooding in China over the past two weeks has left more than 170 people dead or missing and forced out residents in regions along the Yangtze River.

Since Monday, flooding and rains have killed 25 people, left 25 missing and forced about 671,200 to evacuate from their homes across the south, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a report on its website.

The landslides and mudslides have toppled homes and blocked roads, and the torrential rains that caused them are forecast to last through the weekend.

Landslides crushed parts of a railway line in south western China, stranding 5,000 passengers on four trains overnight and affecting train service, local railway authorities said.

More than 2,000 rescuers with 10 excavators rushed to clear the Chengdu-Kunming railway, which links the capitals of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, the Chengdu Railway Bureau said in a statement, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The bureau has sent food and water to the trapped passengers, and buses to evacuate them, the statement said.

In eastern Zhejiang, the province's main river is at its highest level since 1955, China's flood control agency said. The Qiantang River was 7.9 feet above safety levels, it said.

Elsewhere in the coastal province, a dike breached and flooded 18 villages, while landslides toppled about 2,500 houses and flooded 350 roads, Xinhua said.

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