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Flood deaths rise in southern China

Massive flooding in southern China has killed 132 people and forced 860,000 to flee their homes, and more storms are on the way, the government said today.

Another 86 people are missing and more than 10 million people have been affected since torrential rains began on June 13, including those who have been injured, stranded or have suffered property losses, the Ministry of Water Resources said in a news release.

While the death toll was up from 90 yesterday, the number of evacuees was lower than the previous day's figure of 1.4 million.

China sustains major flooding annually along the mighty Yangtze and other major rivers, but this year's floods have been especially heavy, spreading across nine provinces and regions in the south and along the eastern coast.

Thousands of houses have been destroyed and economic losses have topped 14 billion yuan, the ministry said.

More thunderstorms over the area were forecast from this afternoon into tomorrow, according to the official meteorological bureau.

State broadcaster CCTV aired images of rescues performed by boat, truck and helicopter.

Waters have surged past safe levels in dozens of rivers, including the Pearl River in the heart of China's industrial powerhouse of Guangdong. The strong storms have collapsed reservoirs, overflowed rivers, caused landslides and power outages and damaged highways.

The flooding follows the worst drought in a century for the southern provinces and regions of Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi. It left millions without drinking water and destroyed more than 12 million acres of crops.