Beijing: Five more people were killed in villages in southwest China after surging waters swept them away even as the official death toll in rain-triggered floods in the region since early this month reached 175.
   
The floods have left 175 dead and 86 missing, Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs said today.
A hailstorm amid heavy rain hit the village of Xiaolongdong in Yunnan Province yesterday afternoon. Eight villagers, who took shelter under a bridge to avoid the storm, were swept away by surging floodwaters, local officials said.
   
Three of the eight were confirmed dead, four the villagers were rescued, with two suffering severe injuries, and one was missing.
   
In the nearby village of Xiaomi, two villagers were also swept away by the floods. Heavy rains and ensuing floods have continued to plague southern parts of China, affecting millions of people and hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland.
   
Meanwhile, Lanxi faced serious threat of heavy flooding as over 70 km of rural dikes blocking the Lanjiang River started overflowing.
   
More heavy rain started to pound Zhejiang on Saturday pushing up the water level of the Lanjiang River, which passes through the city, Zhao Fayuan, deputy director with the headquarters said.

The river's water level reached 33.75 meters, the highest since 1966. Several sections of the city's dikes are barely holding, Zhao said.
   
More than 20,000 people could be affected if the dikes are breached. Water has already flowed over a few minor dikes, he added.
   
Four rounds of torrential rains that have battered the region since June 3 have caused floods and landslides in the Yangtze River's downstream provinces and several southwestern and southern provinces, according to a statement from the ministry.
   
The disasters have affected 36.57 million people and left 1.64 million displaced in 510 counties of the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the Chongqing Municipality, the ministry said.
   
The direct economic loss caused by the floods has amounted to 35 billion yuan (USD 5.41 billion), it added.
   
The ministries of finance and civil affairs have allocated a total of 165 million yuan as living subsidies for individuals in the flood-hit areas.

(Agencies)