Southern China fights rains as flood death-toll rises

Image caption,
Emergency workers said fresh bouts of rains had hampered their rescue efforts

Fresh rains have lashed flood-hit southern China, as the death-toll across the 10 affected provinces rose to at least 200 people.

The government has ordered the setting up of a rescue and relief centre to coordinate the emergency response.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Jiangxi province in his second trip to flood-hit areas in a week.

At least 100 others are missing and an estimated 2.4 million people have been displaced by the disaster.

More than 15,000 soldiers have been deployed to aid rescue operations.

The disaster has led to power cuts, collapsed reservoirs and widespread damage to roads. Millions are without drinking water supplies.

But efforts have been hindered by fresh periods of rain and more rain is forecasted.

"Rain affects a person's vision and it also creates difficulty for us when manoeuvring the rescue boat," said one civilian worker, Zhou Fuyu.

As the situation worsened, Mr Wen flew to the city of Fuzhou in Jiangxi province to meet and encourage rescue workers and visit victims.

China Central Television showed Mr Wen wading through flooded waters wearing galoshes.

"You are not afraid of sacrifice and in 48 hours, managed to rescue 100,000 people without a single casualty... You have created a miracle in history," Mr Wen said to paramilitary troops.

In the Jiangxi city of Fengcheng, a 50,000 square mile area of mountainside threatened to slide off and devastate areas below, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Changkai dyke near Fuzhou meanwhile suffered a second breach on Wednesday.

Over previous days, state TV broadcast images have shown soldiers leading rescues from roof tops, submerged fields, overturned cars, and people wading through waist-high water as they tried to cross a flooded bridge.

The floods have cost an estimated 43bn yuan (about $6bn; £4bn) so far.

The ministry of civil affairs has said that a total of 365 people have been killed in floods this year across the nation, and 147 remain missing.

China's rainy season began in May.

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