18 Jun 2011

Flooding kills dozens in central China

1:32 pm on 18 June 2011

Flooding in central China has claimed at least 25 more lives, taking this month's death toll past 100, and sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing.

The government has described flooding in some areas as the worst since 1955 and has mobilised troops to evacuate more than half a million people.

China's disaster alert has been raised to the highest level, four. More heavy rain is expected, with little let-up until at least Monday.

The floods come after months of crop-destroying drought in the centre and north of the country. Some areas along the Yangtze River have suffered their worst drought in half a century.

Despite the rain, officials have warned that the crop shortages and dislocation caused by drought will remain severe.

Analysts say crop shortages in China could affect prices around the world.