China gives cities over $316 million in emergency relief amid deadly floods

Flooding in Meizhou, Guangdong province

BEIJING (Reuters) -China has provided more than 2.3 billion yuan ($316.4 million) in funds to help with rescue efforts, emergency supplies and planning as deadly floods and landslides caused by almost two weeks of torrential rain ravage several parts of the country.

Various government departments have allocated 2.344 billion yuan, according to Reuters calculations, to various cities and provinces over the past several days to help with rescue efforts, planning and relocating those affected.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management, issued 496 million yuan - the latest tranche in natural disaster relief funds - for the provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, and Guangdong, and Guangxi region, CCTV news said.

Last week, President Xi Jinping urged authorities to put in all-out efforts to protect lives as floods and natural disasters increased.

Dozens of people have died from floods or rain-induced landslides during the annual flooding season, with southern China getting hit particularly hard this year.

The persistent torrential rain has forced authorities across municipalities to ramp up emergency plans as swollen rivers threaten the lives of millions.

Heavy rain in cities and areas near the Yangtze River Basin have caused surrounding waterways to reach dangerous levels.

On Thursday, officials in Jiangxi warned that the water levels of some rivers and lakes in the northern part of the province had risen rapidly due to heavy rain and could flood, while moist soil in mountainous areas is saturated, which could cause landslides, according to Xinhua news.

In Changsha, the capital of Hunan, the Xiang and Laodao rivers are expected to hit peak dangerous levels Thursday morning, state media reported.

This Monday, heavy rain in the southern Chinese city, turned roads into rivers and submerged pedestrian underpasses and subway tunnels.

($1 = 7.2666 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Farah Master and Shanghai newsroom; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Sandra Maler and Miral Fahmy)