BEIJING: A torrent of floods caused by heavy storms killed 115 people in southern China, with 21 people still missing as weather reports showed rains beginning to subside.
Emergency rescue teams have been dispatched across southern China to help the 685,000 people evacuated as a result of the flooding, which has caused $2.2 billion in damages, a statement on the Ministry of Civil Affairs website said.
But one official said Tuesday that the worst may be over.
"The rain was pretty severe earlier, but now the weather is improving," said the official surnamed Chen who answered the phone at the Hunan Water Bureau information office. Like many Chinese officials he would give only his surname.
China's rainy season, which began this month, follows the worst drought in a century for southern China's Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi regions. The drought affected 61 million people, leaving millions without drinking water and 12 million acres (about 5 million hectares) left barren since last year.
The floods hit 13 provinces, including Guangdong, Sichuan and Zhejiang, and damaged more than 80,000 homes and affected more than 10 million people, said a statement posted on the State Flood Control and Disaster Relief Headquarters website.
China's huge land mass means severe storms can cause floods in one region, while other parts of the country can experience drought.