Rainstorms leave 8 dead, affect millions

Eight people in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region have been killed by rainstorms that have wreaked havoc in many parts of the country over the last few days, authorities said on Monday.

As of Monday evening, over 843,500 people and 35,530 hectares of farmland in Guangxi have been affected by downpours since Thursday, according to the regional civil affairs bureau.

Over 2,300 houses collapsed due to the heavy rain. And direct economic losses are estimated to stand at about 310 million yuan (48.7 million U.S. dollars).

Local governments have relocated 23,300 people.

Rainstorms and gales have hit the southern coastal city of Beihai in the region over the past few days.

The local meteorological observatory in Beihai gave a blue-color-coded warning signal at 4 p.m. on Monday, predicting gales will rage over Beihai and the Beibu Gulf in the following 24 hours.

Shipping routes from Beihai to Weizhou Island and from Beihai to Haikou, capital of the southern Hainan province, have been suspended as of 8 a.m. on Sunday, according to the local maritime department.

Torrential rain also swept east China's Jiangxi province during the recent three-day Dragon Boat Festival holidays.

A total of 93,366 people have been affected in the province, which was evacuated of over 32,400 people and saw 2,364 houses toppled by floods, as of Sunday evening, according the provincial flood prevention and control headquarters.

Direct economic losses of about 1.28 billion yuan (201 million U.S. dollars) have been incurred.

Persistent storms have swollen three major Jiangxi rivers -- Ganjiang, Fuhe and Xinjiang, the water levels of which have risen above warning levels as of Monday morning.

In neighboring Zhejiang province, heavy rain has forced 17,000 people to relocate and affected the lives of more than 350,000 others since June 22, according to the Zhejiang flood control headquarters.

A 12-year-old girl was killed when her house was buried in a landslide that occurred at 6:40 p.m. on Saturday in Zhejiang's Songyang county, the headquarters said.

Rain has also battered central China's Hunan province since June 21, killing one person, leaving another missing and affecting the lives of 138,000 others, according to the Hunan flood control headquarters.

A landslide was triggered in Hunan's city of Chenzhou, blocking roads and rivers and stranding 130 tourists, it announced.

More rain and storms are expected to hit Zhejiang, Fujian and Anhui provinces in south China, as well as Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces in the southwest, over the next three days. Precipitation in some areas may total as much as 160 mm, according to the National Meteorological Center.

XINHUANEWS    Jane