Heavy rains that hit southern and eastern China have left at least 62 people dead or missing, while over one million residents have been evacuated, the government and state media said Sunday.

Rains were expected to continue to pound southern China through Tuesday with water levels in major rivers threatening towns in Jiangxi, Guangxi and Guangdong provinces, the state meteorological bureau said.

According to the civil affairs ministry, at least 55 people have been killed and seven others were missing following torrential rains which have pummelled nine provinces since last week, the Beijing News said.

More than 1.27 million people have been evacuated in the hardest hit regions, with large swathes of farm land submerged and economic losses already amounting to over 10 billion yuan (145 million dollars), it said.

©AFP/File/Liu Jin
The earthquake-hit area of Beichuan county -- in China's southwestern province of Sichuan -- was flooded on June 10. Heavy rains in southern and eastern China have left at least 62 people dead or missing, while more than one million residents have been evacuated.

The rains have also wrecked over 6,600 homes in Guangdong and Jiangxi and washed out roads throughout the nine provinces, many of which have been covered by landslides, Xinhua news agency said.

Prosperous Guangdong province was the hardest hit. Rains there left at least 28 people dead or missing, with flooding in the Pearl River delta the worst in up to 50 years, it said.

The Guangdong government issued an emergency flood alert throughout the province as levels in tributaries to the Pearl river hit or were surpassing warning levels, the report said.

In parts of Guangdong, up to 415 millimetres (16.6 inches) of rain fell in a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday, the report said, while the freakish weather dumped up to 451 millimetres in parts of neighboring Fujian province.