This aerial photo shows submerged fields and inundated buildings after heavy rain in Rongan, China. AFP
Floods and mudslides in south China have uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and left dozens dead or missing, state media reported Thursday.
The bad weather has wreaked havoc on popular tourist areas that had already been battered by months of travel restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak.
Torrential downpours unleashed floods and mudslides that caused nearly 230,000 people to be relocated and destroyed more than 1,300 houses, official state news agency Xinhua reported, citing the Ministry of Emergency Management.
In southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, six people were reported dead and one missing, Xinhua said.
Streets were waterlogged in popular tourist destination Yangshuo, forcing residents and visitors to evacuate on bamboo rafts.
The local government said more than 1,000 hotels had been flooded and more than 30 tourist sites damaged.
One owner of a family-run hotel told Xinhua that the guest rooms were submerged in one metre (three feet) of rainwater.
The extreme weather has dealt a hefty blow to the region's tourism sector, which is still reeling from the COVID-19 epidemic.
The emergency management ministry said there were direct economic losses of over 4 billion yuan (more than $550 million) from the flooding, Xinhua reported.
In Hunan Province, at least 13 people were killed in rain-triggered disasters, and another eight people are missing or killed in southwestern Guizhou province, according to the local emergency response departments, Xinhua said.
The heavy downpours began at the beginning of June and have led to "dangerously high water levels" in 110 rivers, Xinhua reported.
Further rainstorms are expected in the next few days across the south.
Eight died in two building collapses from landslides in Fujian province, near China's east coast, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Wuping county information office.
The storm-surge watches warn residents of possible flooding from rising waters and coastal inundations in the city, known worldwide for its Mardi Gras and jazz.
Typhoon Lekima made landfall early on Saturday in the eastern province of Zhejiang with winds gusting to 187 km (116 miles) per hour, causing travel chaos with thousands of flights cancelled and rail operations suspended.
Speaking during a visit to Bangladesh, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country's actions were "legitimate, reasonable, in accordance with the law," and aimed at protecting China's "sacred sovereignty."
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