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Rescue accelerates along Yangtze River after worst flood in decades

07-14-2010 20:50 BJT

ANQING, Anhui, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers struggled through waist-deep waters in the flooded streets of a central China city to save lives Wednesday while soldiers blasted part of a dike in a nearby county and dismantled four others to divert flood waters from other communities.

A citizen calls on a waterlogged road in Anqing, east China's Anhui Province, July 13, 2010. Heavy rainfall hit Anqing on Tuesday, causing severe flood in the city. Some 600 soldiers and more than 20 speed boats were dispatched to rescue people trapped by the flood. More than 20,000 residents have been transfered to safe places. (Xinhua/Xu Guokang
A citizen calls on a waterlogged road in Anqing, east China's Anhui 
Province, July 13, 2010. Heavy rainfall hit Anqing on Tuesday, causing 
severe flood in the city. Some 600 soldiers and more than 20 speed 
boats were dispatched to rescue people trapped by the flood. More than 
20,000 residents have been transfered to safe places. (Xinhua/Xu 

Rescue and relief operations have been accelerated in flooded cities and towns along the swollen Yangtze River as the weather improved slightly after days of torrential rain.

Authorities in Anqing, a Yangtze port city located in central Anhui Province, said the city was partially submerged after being hit by the heaviest rain in five decades over the past few days.

In the worst-hit Daguan district, flood waters rose to up to three meters, turning streets into rivers and cutting communications, and power and gas supplies.

About 8,000 homes were flooded, officials said.

Firemen on rafts attempted to reach stranded residents in isolated buildings in the town center.

Anqing disaster relief officials said about 2 million residents were affected. As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, two people were confirmed dead in the floods while 10,000 people had been evacuated.

In a residential community, Xinhua reporters saw a 73-year-old disabled woman carried out of a building on a stretcher. Her neighbors, who remain stranded on higher floors of the building, watched through their windows as they anxiously waited for rescuers to come.

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