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China Hit By Floods, Earthquake

Flooding across a wide swathe of China has killed at least 212 people and a moderately strong earthquake rattled a town in northwest province early Thursday, officials and state media said.

The 5.2 magnitude earthquake shook the oasis town of Aksu in northwestern Xinjiang, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The report said the quake struck at 2:39 p.m. (2:39 a.m. EDT), or about five hours before President Clinton's arrival in China.

The flooding, an annual summer scourge in China, has hit the scenic southern city of Guilin, one of five stops on President Clinton's nine-day tour of the country, a senior official said.

Minister of Civil Affairs Doji Cering reported flooding in Guilin, where Mr. Clinton is scheduled to visit July 2.

"In the past several days, there has been torrential rain in the city, and water has flooded the city, causing some damage," he told reporters.

"We are on top of the problem," he said of the ministry, which is responsible for disaster relief.

No casualties were reported in Guilin, but in surrounding Guangxi province, torrential rains killed 66 people and affected 5.8 million, a provincial government spokesman said.
In the eastern Zhejiang province, floods killed 48 people and more than 75,000 residents were affected, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Massive landslides in central Jiangxi province left at least 43 villagers dead, 20 people missing, and more than 100 injured, the agency said.

In the southeastern Fujian province, flood killed 50 people, the provincial government spokesman said. Another 34 people were missing.

The province of Xinjiang is one of earthquake-prone China's most seismically active regions. A 6.2-magnitude quake that hit further to the south, in Pishan and Moyu counties on May 29, injured 28 people and caused heavy damage.

In January 1997, two successive quakes shook Jiashi county, southwest of Aksu, killing 12 people. In March 1996, another quake killed 24 people.

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