Southwest China floods kill 44, leave 18 missing

China's Civil Affairs Ministry says 44 people have been killed and 18 are missing after a week of flooding in the country's southwest that has also caused massive damage to housing and crops.

Beijing: China's Civil Affairs Ministry says 44 people have been killed and 18 are missing after a week of flooding in the country's southwest that has also caused massive damage to housing and crops.

The ministry said today that constant heavy rain beginning Aug. 31 had caused widespread destruction in Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, as well as the mega-city of Chongqing, where all but one of the deaths occurred and all the missing were reported.

It said 121,700 people had been moved to temporary shelters and put the number of collapsed or heavily damaged houses at 42,000. Total damage was estimated at more than 3.3 billion yuan (USD 534 million).

Southwest China's mountainous terrain increases the chances of landslides brought on by the loosening of rain-saturated hillsides.