At least 22 killed, thousands flee in China floods

Residents make their way through a flooded area in Jiujiang, China, with an inflatable boat.
Residents make their way through a flooded area in Jiujiang, China, with an inflatable boat.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (China Daily/Asia News Network) - Torrential rain across nine provinces and Chongqing municipality in central and southern areas of China has left 22 people dead, 15 missing and forced tens of thousands from their homes, the authorities said.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said nearly 268,000 people have been relocated and 324,000ha of crops have been damaged, leading to direct economic losses of 6 billion yuan (S$1.22 billion).

The National Meteorological Centre on Tuesday continued a yellow alert - the second-highest level - for heavy rain in South China for the following 24 hours.

In Chongqing, five people have died, and 1,197 forced to leave their homes since Saturday, the city's flood control and drought relief office said.

In neighbouring Sichuan province, four people died on Sunday after heavy rainfall and landslides caused their homes to collapse, according to the provincial flood and drought disaster relief authority.

Three people died in Anhui province, 26,000 were relocated and nearly 1,100 homes were destroyed, the provincial civil affairs department said.

In the south-western province of Guizhou, rescuers saved more than 150 residents who were stranded after their villages were flooded in Yanhe county. More than 1,500 people were relocated, local media reported.

China has a four-tier weather warning system, with red representing the most severe warning, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

According to the State forecaster, rainstorms are expected across a vast region along the Yangtze River, including the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui and Hubei.

Some parts of Jiangsu and Anhui will see up to 15cm of rain within 24 hours. Heavy rain is also expected in Tibet, Yunnan, Sichuan and Chongqing in the south-west and in Heilongjiang in the north-east, according to the forecaster.