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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chinese Flee Heavy Floods

BEIJING -- Heavy floods have slammed into towns across southern China, killing at least 80 people, leaving dozens missing and forcing almost 700,000 to run for their lives, state media and residents said on Thursday.

There may be worse to come with torrential rains forecast to pound the region at least until the end of the week.

"The flood waters are enormous. They crashed down like a waterfall and submerged the whole city," said Liang Kongzheng, a government official in Wuzhou, a city in the Guangxi region where tens of thousands have been evacuated. "People are getting around the flooded streets in little boats, and flood alarms ring out regularly."

The floods have killed at least 32 people in Guangxi and forced the evacuation of 330,000 to safe ground.

Military planes dropped food, medicine and other urgent supplies to some of Guangxi's worst-hit counties, with around 10,000 people trapped in areas cut off by flood waters, state television said.

South China is struck by deadly floods nearly every summer. Deforestation compounds the problem, as torrential rains trigger rock slides and mud flows off bare mountainsides. "Reckless human activity" made landslides more likely, Xinhua said.

Treeless hills were blamed in part for a flash flood that devastated a school in northeastern Heilongjiang province earlier this month, which killed 117 people, 105 of them children.