SHANGHAI • As many as 61 people have been killed and 356,000 evacuated from their homes as heavy rain and floods swept through large parts of southern and central China this week, the country's rescue authorities said.
In a notice published late on Thursday, China's Ministry of Emergency Management said that 9,300 homes have collapsed and 3.71 million ha of farmland were damaged during the floods, which began on June 6.
Direct economic losses due to the floods were estimated at 13.35 billion yuan (S$2.6 billion).
It said more than 4,300 people had been rescued from floodwaters, which have affected regions stretching from Guangdong province in the south-east to south-west China's Chongqing on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
At least 6 million people have been affected since the start of the flooding season, a senior official said on Tuesday.
More than 20 provincial regions were hit by the floods, with the Guangxi region and the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian suffering heavy losses, said Mr Ye Jianchun, Vice-Minister of Water Resources.
Number of homes destroyed, according to China's Ministry of Emergency Management.
Estimated cost of direct economic losses due to the floods.
Number of people affected since the start of the flooding season.
In Guangdong province, at least two vehicles plunged into a river after part of a bridge collapsed in the urban area of Heyuan city early yesterday, according to the local road management authorities.
One person was rescued, but the exact number of casualties remained unknown as the search and rescue work is under way.
Heyuan is among the areas worst-hit by the floods.
A total of 13 people have been killed as a result of the torrential downpours which have destroyed roads and toppled houses. Two people were still missing as of Thursday.
In the Guangxi region, which borders Vietnam, the week-long downpours have triggered floods in six cities, killing at least 12 and affecting more than 570,000 people, Xinhua reported on Wednesday, citing the regional emergency management department.
In the province of Jiangxi, the floods have affected more than 2.8 million people in nine cities and forced the evacuation of about 340,000 people as of Thursday. Local governments there have sent relief materials, including food, water and clothes, to the affected areas.
Mr Ye said the country has also been hit by droughts which have affected more than 4 million people and 640,000ha of crops as of this month.
He said there were great challenges to the flood and drought prevention efforts this year due to the adverse weather conditions.
The country will strengthen prevention and control of floods and droughts by preventing severe meteorological risks and providing emergency rescue and disaster relief, added Mr Ye.
During the summer, China routinely suffers from droughts in the far north and floods in the south.
The Emergency Ministry has warned that northern regions face even lower precipitation levels this year, while heavy rains are expected to raise flood risks on the Yellow River's upstream portion.