World

More than 1.2 million flee flooding in China

Weeks of heavy rain have caused rivers to flood their banks in southern and eastern China, forcing more than 1.27 million people from their homes and killing 112.

Weeks of heavy rain have caused rivers to flood their banks in southern and eastern China, forcing more than 1.27 million people from their homes and killing 112.

Tens of thousands of homes have collapsed and more than 2.12 million acres of crops are believed to be damaged by the flooding, according to local media reports.

In the city of Foshan, where the Xijiang and Beijiang rivers converge, rising water swallowed one neighbourhood that was home to about 100 people.

"The water came in fast. It started rising yesterday morning, and by noon our homes were swamped," said a man who gave his name as Mr. Huang, standing on a dike staring at his inundated home across the Beijiang River.

Foshan city is located in Guangdong province, one of the hardest hit of eight provinces affected by the flooding and situated in the low-lying Pearl River delta.

Most of the reported damage has been in agricultural areas in the province, a large producer of rice, fruit and vegetables. 

The floods have killed 112 people in 12 provinces, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on its website Tuesday.

Also affected was Sichuan province, where officials are still struggling with last month's 7.9-magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 70,000.

Forecasters expect rain to continue to drench the region over the next few days, with possible thunderstorms over the next two days in several provinces, including Guangdong.

"A major flood is feared if rain continues," Huang Boqing, deputy director of the Guangdong flood control and drought relief headquarters, was quoted as saying.

The official China Daily newspaper said the flooding was the worst to hit the Pearl River delta in 50 years and is estimated to have caused $1.5 billion in economic losses.

With files from the Associated Press