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In central China's Henan Province, rain-triggered floods have claimed the lives of at least 52 people, with 20 others still missing.
Torrential rains have been hitting the mountainous regions in the province's southwest since last Friday, resulting in heavy casualties in the cities of Luoyang, Nanyang and Sanmenxia. The swollen Baihe River stranded 15 local farmers in a village of Nanyang City. Rescuers raced against time to evacuate the residents just hours before an upper stream dam opened its flood gates. Gui Xiaozeng has the story.
When rescuers arrived at Gouying village at around eight O'clock on Sunday morning, they were told that fifteen residents were stranded in two separate places - an animal pen and a plank processing factory.
Both became isolated after roads were flooded by days of torrential rain. Rescuers tried many times to approach the farmers with small fishing boats to give them life jackets, but the attempts failed due rapid flood waters.
The rescue attempts happened at a critical time. Rescuers were notified that a dam on the upper stream of the Baihe River was set to open its flood gates at 11am. Flood control authorities at the time were unaware that were still stranded villagers in Gouying, which would be submerged after water was released from the dam.
After hearing of the situation, local public security officials and armed police rushed to the scene with two rescue boats. With the help of local villagers who were familiar with the terrain, rescuers successfully reached the seven farmers stranded at the animal pen and brought them and their animals to higher ground.
The rescue operation at the plank factory proved more difficult. It was located in the middle of a forest, with trees and branches blocking the way of the boats. After a few trips back and forth, the eight stranded workers were also successfully evacuated.