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Thousands stranded in China floods

Floods caused by heavy rains in north eastern China have stranded tens of thousands of residents without power, as the worst flooding in more than a decade besieged many areas of the country.

Floods this year have killed at least 928 people with 477 missing and more heavy rains are expected, the State Flood Control and Drought Prevention office reported.

About 30,000 residents in Kouqian town were trapped in their homes after torrential rains drenched the north eastern province of Jilin, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Water began flooding the town after the nearby Xingshan Reservoir and the Wende and Songhua rivers overflowed and rescue crews were delivering supplies by boat and moving people to higher ground, state television reported.

Flooding has hit areas all over China. Thousands of workers sandbagged riverbanks and checked reservoirs in preparation for potential floods expected to flow from the swollen Yangtze and Han rivers, said an official with the Yangtze Water Resources Commission.

The Han is expected to rise this week to its highest level in two decades, Xinhua reported. The flood threat was greater than usual because the Yangtze, into which the Han flows, was also reaching peak levels, it said.

Workers were prepared to blast holes in the Han embankment to divert flood waters into a low-lying area of farms and fish ponds, from which more than 5,000 people were evacuated, Xinhua said.

Although China experiences heavy rains every summer, flooding this year is the worst in more than a decade because the flood-prone Yangtze River Basin has seen 15 percent more rain than in an average year, Duan Yihong, director of the National Meteorological Centre, said. "Rains should begin to slow down in August, but it is hard to predict now what exactly will happen, said Duan. "We have to be vigilant and closely monitor the weather ... do a better job of forecasting."

Thousands of rescuers in central China's Henan province searched for survivors after a bridge collapsed from heaving flooding in the Yi River over the weekend, killing 37 people with 29 missing, Xinhua reported.

Around China, a total of 875,000 homes have been destroyed, 9.61 million people evacuated, and 22 million acres of crops ruined in this year's flooding, according to the state flood control office.

China's worst flooding in recent years occurred in 1998, when 4,150 people were killed, most along the Yangtze.

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