Floodwater touches toes of famous Buddhist statue as China hit by typhoon

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Floodwater reached the toes of a famous Buddhist statue for the first time in decades as China suffered flooding and landslides from unusually heavy seasonal rains and a typhoon that came ashore on its southern coast.

It was the first time in at least 70 years that water had reached the foot of the Leshan Giant Buddha, a 71-metre tall statue carved into the side of a mountain in the eighth century in Sichuan province.

The worst of the flooding appeared to be in Sichuan, but the emergency level was lowered on Wednesday morning and the toes of the statue re-emerged as waters receded, news reports said.

Emei Mountain, a nearby tourist site, reopened to visitors after being closed for nearly three days.

Rescuers use an inflatable boat as they evacuate people from a flooded neighbourhood in Neijiang in south-western China’s Sichuan Province (Chinatopix via AP)

Elsewhere, five people were missing in Yunnan province in the south west after a landslide destroyed two houses, the official People’s Daily newspaper said.

In Sichuan province, 21 vehicles parked in a square in Yibin city fell into a hole after the road beneath them collapsed in the middle of the night.

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No-one was injured, according to media reports.

Flooding has left more than 200 people dead or missing in China this year and caused 25 billion dollars worth of damage, authorities said last week.

Typhoon Higos drenched Hong Kong overnight before making landfall in Zhuhai, a city in Guangdong province, in the morning with maximum sustained winds of 78mph, China’s National Meteorological Centre said.

It weakened to a tropical storm as it moved west towards the neighbouring Guangxi region.

More than 65,000 people were evacuated, schools were closed and many fishing boats returned to port along the coast, according to Chinese media reports.

Rain droplets line a railing along the waterfront of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong (Vincent Yu/AP)

Power was knocked out in Meizhou city in north-eastern Guangdong province on Tuesday night after trees fell on to power lines, the electric company said.

The sprawling Chongqing municipality saw its worst flooding since 1981.

Water covered roofs in low-lying areas of the historic town of Ciqikou, which was closed to tourists because of the rains from Tuesday evening.

On the Yangtze River, the inflow of water into the reservoir behind the massive Three Gorges Dam hit a record 72,000 cubic metres (2.5 million cubic feet) per second, state media said.

The inflow is expected to peak on Thursday at 76,000 cubic metres per second, the Ministry of Water Resources said.

On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping visited hard-hit Anhui province, where the 13 sluice gates of the Wagnjiaba dam had been opened, flooding farmland and forests to prevent more extensive damage downriver.

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