Hundreds of Thousands Displaced In Deadly China Flooding

BEIJING (AP) -- Flooding in south and central China has caused more than a dozen deaths and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the government said Wednesday.

About 228,000 people have had to seek emergency shelter due to flooding since June 2, the Ministry of Emergency Management said.

Initial damage was estimated at more than $500 million, including the destruction of more than 1,000 homes.

Flooding was particularly bad in the southern region of Guangxi, where six were listed as dead and one missing, and in Hunan province just to the north, where seven were recorded as dead and one missing.

Seasonal flooding generally causes heavy damage each year in the lower regions of China's major river systems, particularly those of the Yangtze and the Pearl to the south. Authorities have sought to reduce the hardship through the use of dams, particularly the massive Three Gorges structure on the Yangtze.

China's worst floods in recent years were in 1998, when more than 2,000 people died and almost 3 million homes were destroyed.