BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- At least 37 people have died and six others remain missing after downpours hit provinces in south China, according to a statement from the China National Commission for Disaster Reduction on Monday.
In south China's Guangdong Province, the death toll from floods had risen to 17 as of 12:00 p.m. Monday, while three others were missing.
The rainstorms also hit Hunan, Guizhou, Jiangxi and five other southern provinces, leading to casualties.
Hunan witnessed seven deaths and three missing, while four died in Guizhou, said the statement.
A total of 5.51 million people were affected and 447,000 displaced with the collapse of 25,000 houses.
Continuous downpours have led to floods in mountainous areas and raised the water level of rivers, where a large number of houses collapsed and farms were submerged.
About 264,800 hectares of crops have been destroyed by the floods and other related disasters, which in sum caused a direct economic loss worth 7.35 billion yuan (1.18 billion U.S. dollars).
The Chinese government initiated a grade IV emergency response on Monday morning to relieve the affected regions.