China floods kill 44 people and leave 33 missing

Beijing - MAP - China state media said Friday that the torrential rain swept China brought down houses, killing at least 44 people and leaving 33 missing.

The number of people evacuated from the city of Xianning in Hubei province rose to 100,000 by Friday evening, with thousands still stranded, official news agency Xinhua said.

Fierce downpours started on Thursday evening, causing landslides and destroying river embankments in parts of the city. Flood waters reached depths of more than 2 meters and 20 people were killed.

In the cities of Linxiang and Yueyang in nearby Hunan province, the death toll rose to 19 by late Friday, with another 28 still missing, Xinhua said.

The two provinces were among the worst hit by a severe drought in recent months that affected millions of hectares of farmland in central and southern China along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river.

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