HEAVY rains in southern and eastern China have left at least 62 people dead or missing, while more than one million residents have been evacuated.
Rains were expected to further pound southern China in the coming days, with water levels in rivers threatening towns in Jiangxi, Guangxi and Guangdong provinces, the state meteorological bureau said.
According to the civil affairs ministry, at least 55 people have been killed and seven others were missing following torrential rains in nine provinces over the past week.
More than 1.27 million people have been evacuated in the hardest-hit regions, with large swathes of farm land submerged and economic losses already amounting to more than 10 billion yuan (€1bn).
More than 17.8 million people had been affected by flooding brought on by the torrential rains, while more than 141,000 homes had been wrecked or damaged.
The rains have washed out roads throughout the nine provinces, many of which have also been hit by landslides.
Guangdong province was the worst affected.
Rains there left at least 28 people dead or missing.
The Guangdong government issued an emergency flood alert throughout the province.
The government had dispatched 10 special boats to Changle city, one of the worst hit in Guangdong where up to 100,000 people were being evacuated.
In parts of Guangdong, up to 415mm of rain fell in a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday.
Food prices were also rising due to the flooding, with vegetable prices in some Guangdong cities up between 30% and 70% on Saturday alone.
In Guangxi province, which lies west of Guangdong, officials warned of rock and mudslides in mountainous areas where already the torrential rain has been responsible for the deaths of 14 people since last week.
Meanwhile, a photograph hinting at shoddy school construction, was pulled from an exhibition about last month’s earthquake, an apparent indication of rising government sensitivity over an issue that has prompted angry protests from parents of children killed.
The photo showed a hand clutching a twisted piece of steel rebar that looked no thicker than a pencil, taken from the ruins of the middle school in the town of Juyuan — one of 40 that collapsed in the May 12 quake. The picture featured prominently among a collection of quake artefacts when it opened to the public last week. By the weekend, though, it was gone.
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