28.07.12. The death toll from the worst rains to hit Beijing in more than 60 years has risen to 77, China's official Xinhua news agency has said, more than doubling figures previously released.
Many residents of China's sprawling capital had been sceptical about the official toll of 37 that Beijing authorities announced last Sunday, believing the true figure to be much higher.
Saturday's freak downpour, said to be the heaviest rain since records began in 1951, caused rivers to burst their banks and flood major highways, submerging large numbers of vehicles.
In the worst-hit area of Fangshan, on the city's mountainous southwestern outskirts, distraught residents reported cars being swept away and said many people were still missing.
Since then, accounts have emerged of drivers stuck inside their vehicles, unable to open doors and windows as water levels surged, with rescue workers slow to reach them.
Many people took to microblogging websites to condemn the official response to the disaster in the capital, which came at a time of heightened political sensitivity ahead of a 10-yearly handover of power.
Some said the number of deaths and scale of destruction could have been lessened if the government had issued better warnings and modernised Beijing's ancient drainage systems.
Authorities ordered state media to stick to stories "worthy of praise and tears", while censoring the nation's microblogs and threatening arrests.
"From today onward, we will severely strike at those using the internet to... create and transmit political rumours and attack the (Communist) party, state leaders and the current system," the Beijing Times quoted city police chief Fu Zhenghua as saying.
The widely reported threat did not appear to stifle critical comments, with one typical posting calling it "an open confrontation with the people".
Beijing city spokeswoman Wang Hui insisted earlier this week that authorities would not cover up the true number of deaths, acknowledging that the lack of official updates had given rise to public suspicion.
She said authorities recognised the importance of disclosing casualty figures, citing the Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic of 2003, when China faced an international backlash for trying to cover up the disease.
29.07.12. According to recent data the death toll of the flood in China has reached 88 people, while more than 200 are wounded.
Tens of thousands of people have been compelled to leave their homes in the north and northwest of China due to the Yellow River floods. The authorities are organizing camps for them.
The floods were caused by torrential rain. The water level in some districts of Shansi Province has reached the highest mark since 1989.
Heavy rain has been battering various regions of China since the second half of this month.
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