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More than a million evacuated over flood threat

More than a million people living along rivers in China's south have been evacuated with water rising to dangerous levels, state media said on Saturday, as torrential rain continues to wreak havoc.

world Updated: Jun 19, 2010 08:57 IST

More than a million people living along rivers in China's south have been evacuated with water rising to dangerous levels, state media said on Saturday, as torrential rain continues to wreak havoc.

The government said more than 1.4 million residents of riverbanks and low-lying areas had had to move, according to the official China Daily.

Zhang Zhitong, deputy director of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said China's second largest waterway the Pearl River, which crosses the south, had breached warning marks on Thursday.

Torrential and virtually unrelenting rain has battered large swathes of China's south since Sunday, triggering devastating floods and landslides that have killed 69 people.

According to the nation's civil affairs ministry, another 44 people are missing and the cost of the disaster has reached 6.5 billion yuan (950 million dollars).

The National Meteorological Centre warned on Saturday of more rainstorms to come, a day after it issued an orange storm alert -- just one level lower than the nation's most serious red alert.

"There will be heavy rain over the next three days, and flood-control work will face enormous challenges," it said in a statement, adding that some of the rainfall in the south was up to three times larger than normal years.