(MENAFN- Trend News Agency ) The death toll from torrential rain in central China's Henan Province had risen to 56, with five people reported missing as of 7 p.m. Friday, local authorities said, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
Rescue efforts including drainage operations are still underway at Jingguang Road tunnel in the provincial capital Zhengzhou, a waterlogged underpass where many vehicles had been trapped since Tuesday, according to the provincial emergency management department.
The department said there was still a large amount of water in the tunnel, where casualties have been reported. The exact number of casualties has yet to be confirmed.
So far, more than 7.5 million people have been affected by the heavy rainfall that started last Friday and the associated floods, with about 576,600 hectares of crops damaged and more than 3,800 houses collapsed across the province, causing a direct economic loss of over 13.9 billion yuan (about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars).
About 920,000 local residents have been relocated to safe places, according to the department.
China has ramped up emergency support to ensure supplies of staple goods in the province and started reconstruction efforts.
A total of 19,900 tonnes of cooking oil, 19,700 tonnes of dairy products, 3,740 tonnes of rice and 55,000 boxes of bottled water, among other goods have been transported to Henan, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
The ministry has required the neighboring provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Hubei and Shaanxi to prepare for inter-provincial transport of materials to the rain-lashed Henan at any time.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) deployed another team of 510 firefighters with expertise in water rescue to the flood-hit regions from five provinces and cities, together with 64 remote water supply trucks and 100 rubber boats.
The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and the MEM coordinated with the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration and dispatched flood control supplies such as assault boats, life jackets, electric generators and pumps to Henan to support local flood control and emergency rescue work.
Telecommunications have been restored in urban areas of the hard-hit city of Zhengzhou after more than 2,200 base stations were repaired, the provincial communications administration said Friday.
The province's transportation system is recovering constantly. By 3 p.m. Friday, of the 831 damaged segments on Henan's expressways, 345 had been repaired. Nearly 290 of Zhengzhou's 339 urban bus lines had resumed operations, while the repair work of the city's subway system is still underway, data from the Ministry of Transport shows.
Financial institutions have also stepped up efforts to offer support for disaster relief and reconstruction. The Export-Import Bank of China allocated 5 billion yuan worth of special credit quotas to aid the resumption of work for foreign-trade and manufacturing firms.
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