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Death toll in Beijing floods shoots up to 77

Source: PTI
July 26, 2012 20:50 IST
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Days after the worst storm in 60 years hit the Chinese capital, government on Thursday more than doubled the death toll to 77 after the public questioned the low casualty figures.

The Beijing municipal government updated the toll in the Saturday storm to 77 after more bodies were recovered.

A statement issued late Sunday had placed the death toll in the rainstorm at 37, with seven reported missing.

The number was updated by the information office of the Beijing municipal government today evening, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The heaviest rain in six decades lashed Beijing on Saturday, with the average precipitation reaching 170 mm.

The worst-hit area of Fangshan, on the city's mountainous southwestern outskirts, recorded 460 mm of rain. Local residents said cars were swept away and many people were still missing.

"The casualties, which is what everyone cares about, have brought about significant losses, and we are currently coming closer to tallying them up," Fangshan leader Qi Hong said.

Beijing city spokeswoman Wang Hui, addressing concerns expressed on China's hugely popular microblogs, insisted authorities would not cover up the true number of deaths.

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