2:51pm UK, Tuesday June 07, 2011
Floodwaters have killed 14 people and left scores missing in China's southwest as other parts of the country suffer their worst drought in 50 years.
The provincial civil affairs bureau said the rain-triggered floods had hit 11 cities and counties in the Guizhou province since Friday, affecting at least 270,000 people.
At least 35 people are missing in the floods, which have toppled thousands of homes, washed away hundreds of cars and destroyed roads and bridges.
The Wangmo County, where all 14 deaths were reported, was among the worst hit with some 45,000 people forced to evacuate when the floodwaters inundated the area on Monday.
Another 3,000 people are said to be still stranded there, county officials said.
Vehicles battled the floodwaters as streets were turned into rivers
Authorities added the waters flattened 300 houses and left 2,400 submerged, while 21 square miles (5,500 hectares) of farmland was under water in the county, which is home to eight million people.
Power and water supplies and telecommunication services were also affected.
While thousands of school children in the affected towns have had to stay at home with dozens of classrooms submerged following the floods.
The flooding follows months - and in some cases, years - of crop-destroying droughts in the centre and north of the country.
The showers are a welcome relief for some as the Yangtze River almost runs dry
Some stretches along the Yangtze River, which supports more than 400 million people, have almost run dry in southwest China's Chongqing municipality.
More than a thousand small lakes are on the brink of drying up, and have been declared "dead" by the authorities. Millions of people face shortages of drinking water.