57 killed in southern China flooding

More than 1 million forced to flee as more rain expected to pummel region over the next few days.

China flood 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
China flood 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Massive flooding across a broad stretch of southern China has killed almost 60 people and forced 1.27 million others from their homes, state media reported Monday. People were forced to flee their homes across nine provinces, including Sichuan, still reeling from last month's earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said at least 57 people died and eight were missing. Heavy rain is expected to pummel the southern region over the next few days, said a spokesman at the China Meteorological Administration who refused to give his name as is customary. "Continuing thunderstorms are expected for the next two days in the Guangdong, Guangxi, and Fujian regions," he said. "The current water level has already surpassed the dangerous level of 6 meters (yards) and is now at 24 meters (yards). People in the relevant areas have already been evacuated." Heavy rain in Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces will further raise water levels downstream, especially in the coastal manufacturing powerhouse of Guangdong, Xinhua said. Most of those areas are expected to receive more heavy rain over the next 10 days. The worst-hit province was Guangdong, were 20 people died and eight were missing, and 5.76 million people in 17 cities were affected, Xinhua said. Streets and houses along the Xijiang River in Guangdong were submerged in the worst flooding to hit the Pearl River Delta region in 50 years, the official China Daily newspaper said. "A major flood is feared if rain continues," Huang Boqing, deputy director of the Guangdong flood control and drought relief headquarters, was quoted as saying. Vegetable prices in Guangdong have risen by 70 percent in four cities including Guangzhou, the paper said. Economic losses have reached 10.6 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) because of the floods, it said. More than 45,000 houses collapsed and 140,000 had been damaged.