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Rainfall causes Yalu river to burst its banks

Flooding has killed four people and forced the evacuation of 94,000 in the northern Chinese port city of Dandong after heavy rains caused the Yalu river to breach its banks, state media said.

Rain continued to fall on Sunday in the region, which borders North Korea, but the official Xinhua News Agency reported water levels along the Yalu and its tributaries has dropped below flood warning levels.

Xinhua said four people died, including a couple in their 70s and a mother and son, after their homes were swept away by flash floods.

An official with the Water Resources Department in Liaoning province, where Dandong is located, confirmed four people had died, though he was unable to provide details.

Yesterday, floodwaters punctured a dyke between the river and an economic development zone in Dandong, inundating many neighbourhoods.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said torrential rain and water from the overflowing Yalu - or Amnok as it is known in Korean - swamped houses, public buildings and farmland in at least 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 hills.

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 in the country.

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