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Southern China braces for worsening floods with Typhoon Conson.

BEIJING, July 15 Kyodo

Southern China, which has been hit by massive flooding from rainstorms in recent weeks, is bracing for a typhoon that is expected to cause the worst floods in years, state media reported Thursday.

Typhoon Conson is expected to hit the southern provinces of Guangdong and Hainan between Friday afternoon and the early hours of Saturday, bringing strong winds, according to a forecast by China's National Meteorological Center.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday morning, Conson, which was downgraded the typhoon to a tropical storm on Thursday but is expected to regain strength, was 510 kilometers from Hainan island's Wenchang city, the meteorological center said.

In the Philippines, Conson left at least 20 dead and forced thousands to flee their homes.

The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Thursday launched a level-three disaster control emergency response for Conson and has also dispatched two work teams to the two provinces to help local governments deal with the storm, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Rainstorms, floods and landslides that have affected southern China have destroyed more than 100,000 homes and forced the relocation of more than 1 million residents since July 1, Xinhua quoted the Civil Affairs Ministry as saying.

Conson threatens to exacerbate the already severe flooding problems.

Wang Jingquan, director of the flood control and drought relief office at the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, warned that massive flooding like one in the summer of 1998 that killed 4,000 people is likely to occur this year if downpours continue to swell the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, according to the China Daily newspaper Thursday.

''There will be no room for optimism as the incoming Typhoon Conson will add to the grave situation in flood control,'' Wang was quoted as saying.

''If heavy rain hits the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, coupled with the continuous rainfall in the middle and lower reaches, severe flooding similar to that in 1998 will occur,'' he said.

Since the beginning of this year, flooding has killed 594 people and affected 97.5 million people in 26 provinces in China, Xinhua on Thursday quoted the flood control office as saying.

Direct economic losses are estimated at 120.2 billion yuan, or

$17.6 billion.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jul 19, 2010
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