6 Jul 2009

Torrential rain in China leaves at least 20 dead

4:33 pm on 6 July 2009

At least 20 people have died and more than 670,000 have been evacuated in China after torrential rain and floods destroyed houses, damaged roads and caused rivers to overflow.

Days of relentless heavy rain in the centre and south of the country also left another five people missing, according to Xinhua news agency.

In Hunan province alone, eight people died and 140,000 were forced out of their homes, Xinhua said, quoting the provincial flood control office.

More than 285,000 people have been relocated in Guangxi alone in the last week, with 300 pupils trapped in one boarding school, the agency reported.

The heavy downpours also inundated crops and cut power across several provinces.

South and central China are prone to major flooding during the annual summer rainy season.

According to a report issued on Wednesday by the state flood headquarters, 95 people were killed and 21 people went missing in flooding throughout China in the first six months of the year.