Rescuers carry a child to a boat during an evacuation of a flooded village in Qingyuan, China. AP
Flooding in south and central China has caused more than a dozen deaths and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the government said Wednesday.
About 228,000 people have been forced to seek emergency shelter due to flooding since June 2, the country's Ministry of Emergency Management said.
Initial damages were estimated at more than $500 million, including the destruction of more than 1,000 homes.
Flooding was particularly bad in the southern region of Guangxi, where six were listed as dead and one missing, and in Hunan province just to the north, where seven were recorded as dead and one missing.
Seasonal flooding generally causes heavy damage each year in the lower regions of China's major river systems, particularly those of the Yangtze and the Pearl to the south. Authorities have sought to mitigate the hardship through the use of dams, particularly the massive Three Gorges structure on the Yangtze.
China's worst floods in recent years were in 1998, when more than 2,000 people died and almost 3 million homes were destroyed.
A statement on its website said at least 13,000 people had been evacuated, more than 2,000 homes damaged and multiple sections of roads and three bridges destroyed in the city in Guizhou province.
The toll from the heavy rainstorm in Mianning county included two people who died when several vehicles plunged into a river after flooding damaged a highway.
Three floodgates of the Three Gorges Dam that spans the Yangtze were opened as the water level behind the massive dam rose more than 15 meters (50 feet) above flood level, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
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