Floods Trap 300 Teens at School in Southern China

Floods blocked roads in southern China, leaving
some 300 teenagers stranded at a school with limited supplies of
food and water, an official said Sunday, after days of heavy rain
killed at least 15 people.

About 550,000 people have fled their homes in southern China
after heavy rains toppled houses, flooded roads and damaged a dam,
news reports said.

Flood waters blocked the entrances to the Hemu Town Middle
School in the Guangxi region and rendered nearby roads impassable,
according to an official of Rongshui county where the school is.
She would only give her surname, Lu.

CCTV said Sunday that floodwaters along a major commercial
thoroughfare elsewhere in Rongshui were more than eight feet (2.5
meters) deep. The report said it was the highest water level the
county has seen in a decade.

Flood control officials used boats to deliver food, mineral
water and other supplies to the school on Saturday, including pumps
to lower the water level, Lu said.

She said she did not know how long the children, aged from 13 to
15 years, had been stuck in the building.

By Friday, 80 percent of the county was inundated, causing the
Rongjiang river to overflow its banks and forcing the relocation of
more than 70,000 people, Lu said.

Heavy rains have battered the region since Wednesday, forcing about 290,000 people in Guangxi to relocate, the official Xinhua
News Agency said. The rains began to subside in parts of Guangxi on
Sunday, but river levels remained high, the report said.

CCTV showed flooded Rongshui streets, where the signboards of
restaurants and shops were all that could be seen above the water.
Mattresses, household items and other debris drifted in the water,
passing residents on wooden rowboats as people peered out from
second-floor balconies and windows.

The county government estimated the damage at 210 million yuan
($31 million), Xinhua said.

The rain also destroyed a 44-foot (13-meter) section of a dike
near the base of the Kama Reservoir in Guangxi, Xinhua said.

About 15,000 people who lived downstream from the dam were moved
to safety and were now living in more than 1,000 tents, the
national flood control office said in a statement Saturday.

In Hunan province, floods have killed eight people and forced
140,000 to relocate. Five people have died in southeastern Fujian
province, two others were missing, and 22,000 people have been
evacuated, Xinhua said Saturday.

Another two people died and three were missing in Jiangxi
province. Another 100,000 people were forced from their homes.

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