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BEIJING – China’s disaster-response systems are being put to the test as flood waters from record rainfall could take weeks to recede, with thousands of people still unable to return to their homes, state media reported on Thursday.

The authorities in northern Hebei province raised the natural disaster emergency response level to two from three, while Beijing kept a warning in place for landslides on its outskirts, the state broadcaster and city government said.

The Hai river basin, where five rivers converge in northern China, is going through a “flood evolution process” and flood-control engineering systems are experiencing the most severe test since inundations in 1996, state media reported.

Flood waters could take up to a month to recede in Hebei province, where Zhuozhou is the hardest-hit city, a water resources department official told state media. About 100,000 people in the city south-west of Beijing were forced by the rising waters to leave their homes.

The floods have spread since Typhoon Doksuri swept into southern China last Friday. The remnants of the typhoon have started drifting into north-east China after breaking a 140-year rainfall record in Beijing and dumping more than a year’s rain in Hebei province earlier this week.

While the rain has eased, scores of reservoirs have been enabled to divert and trap flood water as it flows downstream, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

China is facing more stormy weather with Typhoon Khanun now swirling over the East China Sea towards Japan, and forecast to approach China’s Zhejiang and Fujian provinces by Friday.

American phone-maker Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said in a post on popular microblog Weibo that the company will donate to the flood-relief efforts in Beijing and Hebei. REUTERS Floods test China’s disaster-response systems as emergency level raised

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