Heavy rains, landslides hit China, at least 45 die

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Photo - A Filipino vendor uses candles to illuminate bananas during a power outage a day after strong winds from Typhoon Rammasun damaged power supplies, in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines, Thursday July 17, 2014. Parts of the capital and some provinces remain without power after Typhoon Rammasun barreled through northern Philippines leaving dozens of people dead and forcing more than half a million people to flee its lethal wind and rains, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino vendor uses candles to illuminate bananas during a power outage a day after strong winds from Typhoon Rammasun damaged power supplies, in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines, Thursday July 17, 2014. Parts of the capital and some provinces remain without power after Typhoon Rammasun barreled through northern Philippines leaving dozens of people dead and forcing more than half a million people to flee its lethal wind and rains, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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BEIJING (AP) — Heavy rains and landslides over the past week have killed at least 45 people in southern China and left 21 others missing, the country's Ministry of Civil Affairs and an official said Thursday.

Southern China was also bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Rammasun around midday Friday, with wind gusts expected to surpass 140 kilometers per hour (90 mph). The typhoon left at least 40 dead in the Philippines, where it damaged homes and knocked out power Wednesday. Rain fell in Hong Kong, which issued a strong wind advisory as the typhoon passed.

In Sichuan province, a landslide caused dirt and stone to hit a truck and four cars on a highway on Thursday afternoon, killing 11 people and injuring a further 19, according to an official in the province's Maoxian county, who only gave her surname, Li.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement that heavy rains and associated floods and landslides over the past week had killed 34 people and left 21 others missing in seven southern provinces. The bulk of these deaths and missing persons were in Guizhou and Hunan provinces.

The ministry said nearly 9,300 houses had collapsed in the rains, and a further 63,000 houses had been damaged. The rains had also affected 384,000 hectares of crops and caused direct economic losses of 5.2 billion yuan ($840 million), it said.

Chinese state television showed flooding threatening the picturesque tourist town of Fenghuang in Hunan province, with a historic arched bridge barely emerging from floodwaters.

The rains reached the capital, Beijing, on Wednesday night and flooded some streets.

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