China rains force evacuation of 77,000

Flooding in China has damaged 126,100 hectares of farmland and destroyed at least 1600 homes.
Flooding in China has damaged 126,100 hectares of farmland and destroyed at least 1600 homes.

The heaviest average rainfall to lash a swathe of southern and eastern China in more than half a century has brought torrential rain and floods and forced the evacuation of nearly 80,000 people.

Even more rain is expected, state television said on Thursday, after average rainfall in the affected areas this week was recorded as 51 per cent higher than in the corresponding periods of previous years, and the largest since 1961.

Television showed images of half-submerged buildings and flooded streets in some of the worst-hit areas.

The latest episode has damaged 126,100 hectares of farmland and destroyed 1600 homes, the Ministry of Emergency Management estimated.

As many as 77,000 people had been evacuated, it added.

The affected areas include the southern provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi, eastern Zhejiang, the southeastern province of Fujian, and the northern parts of the southwestern Guangxi region.

The first three areas are expected to be doused again in a fresh burst of torrential rain on Friday and Saturday, weather officials said, along with the central province of Hubei, eastern Anhui and the province of Guizhou in the southwest.

The Yangtze River in Jiangxi is expected to exceed its warning level for the first time this year around Sunday, swelled by heavy rain that could last until Tuesday, state TV said.

Australian Associated Press