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China floods death toll reaches 74, hundreds of thousands evacuated

People wade through a flooded street near the overflowing Songhua River in Harbin, Heilongjiang province on Aug 16, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their ho
People wade through a flooded street near the overflowing Songhua River in Harbin, Heilongjiang province on Aug 16, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent days, officials and state media said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
A flooded residential area in the Hongshi township of Huaidian city, northeast China's Jilin province on Aug 16, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes
A flooded residential area in the Hongshi township of Huaidian city, northeast China's Jilin province on Aug 16, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent days, officials and state media said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO:  AFP
Local residents collect logs at Shachang Residential Compound in Hongshi town of Huadian City, northeast China's Jilin Province on Aug 17, 2013, following floods. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced h
Local residents collect logs at Shachang Residential Compound in Hongshi town of Huadian City, northeast China's Jilin Province on Aug 17, 2013, following floods. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent days, officials and state media said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
People walk past a car stranded in mud after heavy rainfalls hit Fushun, Liaoning province on Aug 17, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent
People walk past a car stranded in mud after heavy rainfalls hit Fushun, Liaoning province on Aug 17, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent days, officials and state media said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
People stand in a flooded street after heavy rainfalls hit Fushun, Liaoning province on Aug 18, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent days, offic
People stand in a flooded street after heavy rainfalls hit Fushun, Liaoning province on Aug 18, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent days, officials and state media said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Soldiers use a speedboat to transport residents across a river after a bridge collapsed during sweeping floods in Fushun, Liaoning province, Aug 17, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds
Soldiers use a speedboat to transport residents across a river after a bridge collapsed during sweeping floods in Fushun, Liaoning province, Aug 17, 2013. Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent days, officials and state media said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - Devastating floods at opposite ends of China have left 74 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes in recent days, officials and state media said on Monday.

Flooding in the north-east which left 54 people dead was described as "the worst in decades" by state news agency Xinhua, while another 20 people died in the southern province of Guangdong as a result of the weather, the ministry of civil affairs said.

A further seven people were missing in Guangdong, where 510,000 were evacuated because of the rain, the ministry said.

Transport links were severely crippled, affecting tens of thousands of travellers.

Some services from Guangzhou railway station, Guangdong's most important transport hub, were suspended due to rain and landslides.

State media said 80,000 passengers were stranded over the weekend because of the disruption.

Services were beginning to return to normal from Monday, the station said in a statement posted on its website.

More than 2,800 soldiers have been drafted in to help with the relief efforts, Xinhua reported.

The torrential rain hit Guangdong as it was recovering from the passage of Typhoon Utor last week which killed 10 people.

The northeastern provinces affected by the recent flooding include Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang.