Torrential rains that have swept through China have killed at least 154 people and left 124 missing, officials said Saturday, with most of the casualties reported from a northern province where villagers complained about lack of warning before a deadly flash flood. The rains, which began on Monday, have flooded streams, triggered landslides, and destroyed homes across the country. Most of the fatalities were reported in the northern province of Hebei, where the provincial Department of Civil Affairs said 114 people were killed and 111 others were missing, the AP reports. More than 300,000 people were evacuated in Hebei, and the province made another round of appropriations of tents, blankets, rain boots, and generators, the department said.
In the Hebei city of Xingtai alone, 25 people were killed and another 13 were missing. The Xingtai village of Daxian was swamped by a flash flood early Wednesday as residents were asleep. Eight people, including three children, were killed and another was missing in the flood, according to the Xingtai government. But the tragedy did not surface until Friday, when accounts, purportedly by local residents, began surfacing on Chinese social media of angry villagers blocking roads, accusing the local authorities of failing to notify them in time for evacuation when an upstream reservoir discharged the floodwaters. The online posts — accompanied by photos of drowned victims — also accused local officials of covering up the tragedy by lying about having no deaths in the area. State media later confirmed that a local official had said Wednesday afternoon that the flash flood caused no fatalities. Click for more. (Read more China stories.)