Beijing - Freezing temperatures have forced the evacuation of nearly 60,000 people from their homes and caused more than $200 million in economic losses in southern China, the government said Wednesday.

Ice and sleet have collapsed the roofs of more than 1,200 homes and forced the evacuation of 58,000 people across the southern regions of Jiangxi, Hunan, Chongqing, Sichuan and Guizhou, the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported.

Freezing weather has also damaged nearly 300,000 acres of crops, including cabbage and rice, and caused about $203.8 million in economic losses across southern China, the ministry said.

In Guizhou province, 22,800 people were forced to evacuate from their homes Tuesday and drivers had to abandon thousands of cars after ice-covered roads were closed, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

"People, especially those living in the mountains and the elderly, are being evacuated from their homes," said a Guizhou Meteorological Bureau official, surnamed Zhao. "Roads and homes with poor infrastructure are being impacted by the icy conditions."

Zhao declined to give his full name, as is common with Chinese officials.

Northern and central Guizhou are expected to see subfreezing temperatures through Friday.