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Thousands of homes flattened as more floods drench China

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Wild weather batters China
  • NEW: State media: Government officials say aging reservoirs are strained to their limit
  • Typhoon Chanthu made landfall in southern China and could dump 20 inches of rain
  • More than 700 have died in floods this year in China's worst flooding in a decade

(CNN) -- Relentless flooding has led to the collapse of 5,700 houses and the relocation of at least 152,000 residents in northeastern China this week, the state-run news agency Xinhua said Thursday.

This year's torrential rains and flooding have been the worst in a decade, claiming the lives of 701 people and leaving 347 missing, Xinhua said, citing government figures.

The state-run newspaper China Daily reported that flooding this year has caused 142.2 billion yuan ($21 billion) in damage.

Government officials say the flood reinforcements of thousands of aging reservoirs in the country are strained to their limit, China Daily said.

Video: Chinese workers shore up levees

Zhou Xuewen, head of the planning department with the Ministry of Water Resources, told the newspaper that the government is planning to reinforce all small reservoirs.

China has about 81,000 small-sized reservoirs, many of which were completed between 1958 and 1976, China Daily reported.

"We have reinforced about 9,200 reservoirs, but most small-sized reservoirs need maintenance and reinforcement," Zhou told the newspaper.

According to Xinhua, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said that much of the damage is in the northeastern provinces of Liaoning and Jilin. The civil affairs department of Liaoning has sent tents and quilts to the affected regions.

The ministry's statement Thursday comes the same day Chanthu, the third typhoon of the season, made landfall in southern China, bringing winds of 115 kilometers per hour (71 miles per hour).

Chanthu could drench some rain-swollen areas with another 20 inches of rain, CNN meteorologist Jenny Harrison said.