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    China's quake-hit Sichuan faces major flood threat

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    Fears of major flooding have prompted the evacuation of some 20,000 people from southwest China's Sichuan province, which was hit by a powerful earthquake in May, the Xinhua news agency reported Friday.

    BEIJING, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Fears of major flooding have prompted the evacuation of some 20,000 people from southwest China's Sichuan province, which was hit by a powerful earthquake in May, the Xinhua news agency reported Friday.

    Local weather forecasters say the region faces its worst floods in a decade. Precipitation across the quake-hit province in May and June has been up to 70% higher than during the same period last year.

    Recent heavy rain and floods have already claimed 171 lives across China, and 10 million people in the earthquake zone, "many living in tents and makeshift houses," could be affected, the news agency said.

    Landslides triggered by the May 12 quake and heavy rain following it have caused around 35 "quake lakes" to form, raising fears of large-scale flooding. The embankments of more than 1,800 reservoirs in Sichuan have also been damaged.

    The earthquake, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale according to the China Seismological Bureau, was the worst to hit the country in more than three decades. The confirmed death toll is 69,186, but local authorities say the final figure is likely to exceed 80,000.

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