BEIJING (AFP) - Torrential rain lashing northern China this week has left nearly 300 people dead or missing, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
As of Monday (July 25) morning, more than half a million people in the hardest-hit provinces of Henan and Hebei had been displaced, with 125,000 people in urgent need of basic living assistance, Xinhua said, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The storms have left 164 dead and 125 missing, it added.
Four officials were suspended Sunday for "dereliction of duty" during a devastating flash flood that occurred last week near the town of Xingtai in Hebei.
The incident, which left at least 25 dead and 13 missing, provoked outrage after locals accused authorities of failing to warn them of the impending deluge - and trying to cover up the cause of the disaster.
Flooding is not uncommon during the summer monsoon season in northern China, but showers have been unusually heavy across the country this summer.
In the summer of 2012 Beijing was lashed by the worst rains to hit the capital for more than 60 years and around 80 people were killed.
Earlier this month heavy downpours wreaked havoc in central and southern China, flooding several major cities and causing over 200 deaths, state media has said.