Asia-Pacific

Fatal floods hit China forcing over 500,000 to flee

Days of torrential rain have forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people in central and southern China.

The government has described flooding in some areas as the worst since 1955 and has mobilised troops to evacuate some 555,000 people.

More than 100 people are known to have died so far this month.

China's disaster alert has been raised to the highest level, four. More heavy rain is expected in the coming days, with little let-up until Sunday.

In Jiangxi province in the east, troops helped 122,400 residents move from vulnerable, low-lying areas, the China News Service reported.

Rain follows drought

In central Hubei province, downpours earlier this week triggered a landslide that left six people missing and blocked the Pingdu River, forcing 2,000 residents to flee.

The floods come after months of crop-destroying drought in the centre and north of the country.

Some areas along the Yangtze River have suffered their worst drought in half a century.

Despite the rain, officials have warned that the crop shortages and dislocation caused by drought will remain severe.

Analysts say crop shortages in China could affect prices around the world.

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