More than 127,000 people have been evacuated in northeastern China following severe flooding that has already claimed at least 1,400 lives this month.
China's official Xinhua news agency reported Sunday that in Dandong city alone, located on the rain-swollen Yalu River which separates China from North Korea, more than 94,000 residents were evacuated amid widespread power and communications failures. At least 5,100 residents have been evacuated from affected areas in North Korea.
Downpours since Thursday have led to flash floods that swept away homes about 100 kilometers northeast of Dandong, killing four people. Weather forecasters warn up to 25 centimeters more rain could hit the area in the next 24 hours.
Flood-related incidents in China this year have claimed nearly 4,000 lives -- victims who are either confirmed dead or have disappeared in the torrents. Chinese emergency officials say the casualty toll from massive mudslides earlier this month in Drugchu in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous prefecture stands at 1,434 dead, with 331 people still missing.
Meanwhile, North Korea's state-run news agency reported heavy damage in the city of Sinuiju, across the river (known as Amnok in Korean) from Dandong. The city and surrounding farm communities are said to be "severely affected" after about 30 centimeters of rain fell during a 9-hour period early Saturday.
The country's leader, Kim Jong-Il, sent military units to evacuate thousands of people from Sinuiju. Much of North Korea's land traffic with China, its main trading partner, passes through the city, forming a vital lifeline for the isolated, impoverished country.
After decades of deforestation, the North is particularly vulnerable to landslides and flash floods. A chronic lack of fuel and equipment has also limited the country's ability to fight damage from heavy rains, which in turn hurts harvests and worsens food shortages. North Korea's agricultural sector has been devastated by floods and drought in recent years.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, NYT, Reuters and Xinhua