20 Sep 2011

Chinese floods force millions from homes

8:09 pm on 20 September 2011

Floods and landslides in China caused by a week of heavy rain have killed at least 57 people and forced more than a million from their homes.

Officials say 12.3 million people have been affected in Sichuan, Henan and Shaanxi provinces - in the southwest, centre and north of China.

The BBC reports Chinese media as saying the flooding in Sichuan is expected to be the worst since records began in 1847.

More than 600,000 people have been evacuated from their homes there as major tributaries of the Yangtze - China's longest river - exceed danger levels, the official Xinhua news agency says.

The deputy mayor of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi, is reported as saying a landslide hit a suburban district of the city, burying a brick factory and a dormitory for workers, killing 17 people and leaving 15 missing.

China is badly affected by flooding every year. Last year's floods - the worst in a decade - killed or left missing more than 4000 people.