High flood water passes through Wuxi County in southwestern China's Chongqing on Friday. AP
Rainstorms have killed five more people in a southern Chinese region already reeling from heavy flooding over the past week.
The government of Zunyi city, south of the metropolis of Chongqing, said Saturday that five had died and eight others were missing after fresh storms that began late Thursday night.
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.
Earlier storms left 13 dead in nearby Hunan province and the Guangxi region.
Seasonal flooding regularly strikes the lower regions of China’s major river systems, particularly those of the Yangtze and the Pearl to the south.
More than 200,000 people have been forced to seek shelter and economic losses are estimated at more than $500 million, the Ministry of Emergency Management said earlier this week.
Guangxi’s crucial tourism sector, already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, has been set back further by the floods. The region is home to the city of Guilin, famous for its landscape of karst rock formations.
Authorities have sought to mitigate flooding through the construction of dams, such as the massive Three Gorges structure on the Yangtze.
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.
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.
"The first accident occurred in the early morning in Al Karama tunnel, when a bus crashed into a light vehicle causing ten minor injuries," he explained.
Police spokesman Moses Carter told the media the death toll was provisional and "may increase" because a number of people were in critical condition. He added that children were included among the dead.
"Initial investigations show that it was a time-controlled device on a motorbike which was the cause of the blast," Rana Arif, spokesman for Lahore police.