BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Rainstorms battering south China since June 18 have left 26 people dead and three missing in nine provincial-level regions, according to latest official figures.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement that 4.9 million people in the provinces of Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou as well as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chongqing Municipality had been affected by heavy rainfall by 11 a.m. on Sunday, with 337,000 people relocated and 115,000 in urgent need of basic living necessities.
The downpours have toppled more than 8,700 houses, damaged another 66,000 homes and left 42,200 hectares of crops unharvestable, leading to direct economic losses of 4.08 billion yuan (653 million U.S. dollars).
Among the fatalities, 11 occurred in Hunan, five in Jiangxi and four in Fujian. Guizhou, Guangxi and Chongqing each reported two deaths.
The latest round of heavy rainfall began to hit south and southwest China on June 18, bringing gale, floods and landslides.
Rainstorms have also caused landslides and flash floods in east China's Zhejiang Province. Local authorities have started emergency response for possible geological hazards.