At least 99 people have died and about 160 are missing in the heavy rains that have been deluging different regions in China since early this month, downpours that have caused serious flooding and mudslides affecting nearly two million people.

The most heavily-affected provinces are Sichuan and Yunnan, in the south; Henan, in the central part of the country; and Shaanxi, in the northwest.

In Shaanxi, the death toll on Sunday stands at 26, according to the latest official tally.

The local government, via the state-run Xinhua news agency, reported that 116 people have been injured and 260,000 adversely affected in some way by the rains and flooding.

Throughout the region, the rains have caused 3,710 mudslides, cutting traffic on more than 120 roads. The economic costs of the disaster already amount to 1.47 billion yuan ($236 million).

In the southern province of Sichuan, the death toll in a landslide that occurred last Wednesday has risen to 43, after authorities recovered 25 more bodies on the weekend.

The landslide occurred at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday in the town of Zhongxing, within the greater metropolitan area of Dujiangyan, one of the cities that suffered most in the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake that killed 90,000 people.

There, 118 people are listed as missing or have not been able to be directly contacted, according to Deputy Mayor Chen Yangjie.

The landslide buried 11 homes and the storms there are the most severe to hit the town since 1954, the official China Daily reported.

In the provinces of Yunnan and Henan, the rains have killed at least 30 people this past week.

In the three regions together, about 160 people remain missing.

Authorities say that the torrential rains, occasionally accompanied by hail, have caused flooding and landslides that have affected 1.67 million people.

Central and southern China each summer during the rainy season suffer flooding and other related natural disasters. In 2010, some 4,000 people died as a result of the heavy rains, the highest number in a decade. EFE