19 dead, 45 missing in China storm

Beijing, May 11: Nineteen people were killed and 45 went missing after hail and torrential rains battered northwest China’s Gansu province Thursday, authorities said Friday.

The stormy weather lasted only an hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., but wreaked havoc in 17 of Minxian county’s 18 townships and villages, reported Xinhua citing a press release.

Five people were hospitalized with serious injuries and over 1,900 were evacuated.

Hail and torrential rains cut power supplies in six townships, damaged several homes, hospitals, schools and 7,300 hectares of cropland and disrupted traffic on two highways.

In the worst-hit Chabu town, perched at an average altitude of 2,000 meters, more than 800 people were evacuated to village schools and government offices Thursday night.

Minxian is a mountainous county with a population of 450,000. It is 150 km from Zhouqu county, where a devastating rain-triggered mudslide killed more than 1,500 people in August 2010.