At least 28 people have died and dozens more are missing due to severe rainstorms affecting central and southwestern China since last weekend, according to the latest figures from the Civil Affairs Ministry cited Thursday by the official Xinhua news agency.

The serious flooding and mudslides triggered by torrential rains, occasionally accompanied by hail, have affected 1.67 million people, the ministry said.

In the southwestern province of Sichuan, one of the hardest-hit regions, 18 people died and 62 others are missing due to mudslides, which caused three bridges to collapse.

More than 80,000 people have been affected and some 10,000 others had to be relocated to safe ground due to torrential rains in the city of Wenchuan, which was the epicenter of an earthquake that left 87,000 dead in Sichuan in May 2008.

In the neighboring province of Yunnan, four people were killed in Suijiang County, where the severe storm affected some 28,600 people and caused more than 5,820 houses to collapse.

Flooding caused by heavy rains also left four people dead in the central province of Henan, it was reported. EFE