More than 2 million affected by China flooding

June 19, 2011 - 4:56 AM
APTOPIX China Floods

Two men on a motorcycle are stuck in floodwaters in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Saturday June 18, 2011. Flooding from this month's seasonal rains has already forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and left more than 170 dead or missing. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

BEIJING (AP) — More than 2 million people have been displaced or otherwise affected by flooding in eastern China's Zhejiang province that is also pushing up food prices, state media reported Sunday.

Torrential rains have left huge areas of the relatively wealthy province under water, with 422,500 acres (171,000 hectares) of farmland inundated, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Almost 1,000 businesses have been forced to suspend operations and 2.6 million people have had their lives disrupted, Xinhua said in a brief report. It said direct financial damage was estimated at almost 5 billion yuan ($772 million).

Flooding in eastern and southern China this month has left more than 170 people dead or missing. Roads and railways have been blocked, but aid supplies are arriving and the country's weather bureau says skies are expected to clear up Monday.

Farmers quoted by Xinhua said the flooding was the worst in 20 years, reducing vegetable output by 20 percent and also causing shortages of fruits and grains. Prices for green vegetables were up 40 percent, Xinhua said, adding to an inflation rate of 5.5 percent, a three-year high.

The increase in the consumer price index reported last week was in line with expectations but higher than April's 5.3 percent and March's 5.4 percent. The National Statistics Bureau said the main factor was an 11.7 percent jump in food prices.

Higher food prices blamed on flooding were also reported in the eastern provinces of Anhui and Jiangxi, Xinhua said.