China floods: Millions affected by deadly downpours

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

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More than five million people are now reported to have been affected by deadly floods in eastern China.

Torrential rain was continuing, leaving large parts of Zhejiang and Hubei provinces under water, state-run news agency Xinhua said.

It said nearly 1,000 businesses were being disrupted and crops destroyed, pushing up food prices.

This month's flooding - the worst since 1955 - has already left about 170 people dead or missing, reports say.

The government has mobilised troops to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people.

China's disaster alert has been raised to the highest level, four.

Downpours earlier this week triggered landslides that buried houses and killed at least two people in Zhejiang and another two in Hubei.

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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