| GEO World|
| Record rain drenches China as rivers threaten to burst|
| Updated at: 1015 PST, Saturday, June 26, 2010|
BEIJING: Relentless rains were swelling rivers to record levels in south and central China on Saturday as the nation braced for more flood-related disasters that have already taken the lives of 235 people.
Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei warned regional officials that their jobs were at stake if they failed to protect people from the effects of the deluge, his ministry said on its website.
Workers and soldiers in central China's Hunan province meanwhile scrambled to shore up dykes as waters reached record levels along the Xiang river as it passed through Changsha city, where over six million people live.
At least 235 people have died and 109 were missing in flooding and landslides triggered by torrential rains that have pounded south and central China since June 13, the civil affairs ministry said.
The rains have caused 53 billion yuan (7.8 billion dollars) in economic losses, with over three million people forced to evacuate, it said.
According to the national meteorological centre, rains continued to fall Saturday on the hard-hit provinces and regions of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi.