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Nearly 260,000 flee flooding along China-North Korea border

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: More than 250,000 people evacuated in northeastern China
  • NEW: Authorities warn the danger has not yet passed
  • More than 5,000 people evacuated on the North Korea side of the river
  • The river is on the border of China and North Korea
  • China

(CNN) -- Nearly 260,000 people in northeastern China and North Korea have fled their homes as heavy rains caused the Yalu River to swell over its banks, state news outlets in those countries reported Sunday.

Most of those evacuated were in China, where the state news agency Xinhua said 253,500 people had to evacuate. China's flood control authorities said later Sunday that the river had dropped below warning levels -- but more rain was forecast, which was expected to hamper flood control work, Xinhua said. Authorities warned the danger had not yet passed.

At least four people have died in the region since Thursday and 48 townships flooded in Dandong, Liaoning province, Xinhua said. One person was missing. No new casualties were reported Sunday, Xinhua said.

On the North Korean side, more than 5,000 residents were evacuated near the town of Sinuiju when the country's military sent planes and warships, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported. Some single-story homes were underwater, KCNA reported, and "the flood victims were at a loss on the rooftops of buildings and hills." The news agency did not say whether there were any North Korean injuries or fatalities.

The Yalu is on the border of China and North Korea.

Saturday night, the water level at a station in Dandong City, China, was 2.35 meters (7.6 feet) above the warning level, "the second-highest level since records began being kept in 1934," Xinhua reported, citing the state Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The flooding has caused 361 homes to collapse and has cut communications and power supplies in some areas, Xinhua said. More than 2,000 soldiers and crews have been mobilized to rescue stranded residents, the news agency said, and about 70 vehicles, 398 speed boats and six helicopters are being used in rescue operations.

Heavy rains have triggered mudslides in the country, including one in northwest China's Gansu province that has killed 1,400 people. About 360 more are still missing, state media reported.