Evacuations needed following China floods

Flooding has forced the evacuation of 94,000 people in the north China port city of Dandong after heavy rains caused the Yalu river to breach its banks, state media said today.

More rain was expected to pound the region, which borders North Korea, and threatened to trigger more flooding today, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Floodwaters yesterday punctured a dike between the river and an economic development zone in Dandong, inundating many neighbourhoods. The river's water level had fallen since then but remained dangerously high, Xinhua said.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said torrential rain and water from the overflowing Yalu swamped houses, public buildings and farmland in more than five villages near Sinuiju, the city opposite Dandong.

The report described Sinuiju and the surrounding area as having been "severely affected" by the flooding and said officials, the military and ordinary civilians were involved in rescue work. It said at least 5,150 people had been evacuated and residents were clambering on rooftops or taking shelter on hilltops.

Much of North Korea's trade with the world passes through the city, forming a vital lifeline for the isolated, economically struggling country. Flooding in previous years has destroyed crops and pushed North Korea deeper into poverty, increasing its dependence on international food aid.

For China, the Dandong flooding is the latest disaster in the country's worst flood season in over a decade. Landslides caused by heavy rains have smothered communities in western China and accounted for most of the more than 2,500 people killed.