• Rescuers evacuate residents from flood-hit areas in Chongqing, China, in this July 2, 2013 photo.

Rescuers evacuate residents from flood-hit areas in Chongqing, China, in this July 2, 2013 photo. (Photo : Getty Images)

Fifty people have been killed and another 12 missing after three straight days of heavy rain in southern China, authorities said on Sunday, as areas along the Yangtze River brace for additional floods.

Torrential rains have already destroyed 22,000 houses and forced 762,000 residents to evacuate in the provinces of Jiangsu, Hubei, Henan and Sichuan, according to the Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday.

Like Us on Facebook

Floods have also damaged crops, roads, and telecommunication and power facilities, as well as stopped traffic and delayed trains in some areas.

Authorities estimate an economic loss of 20.43 billion yuan ($3 billion).

Rainstorms pummel the southern part of China each year during the summer monsoons, but the recent rainy season has been particularly harsh.

State television on Saturday showed people using boats to travel flooded streets in eastern Anhui Province, while the worst-hit Hubei Province reported 38 fatalities and 17 missing due to the torrential rain.

Water has exceeded the warning levels in the middle and lower areas of the Yangtze River and authorities have sent workers to patrol the river dikes, Chen Guiya, an official with the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission, told Xinhua.

Earlier in June, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang warned of a high possibility of floods in the Yangtze and Huai River basins this year, which covers large swatches of China's southern, central, and eastern regions.

Wang said the situation was worsened by a particularly strong "El Nino" phenomenon, which has been blamed for triggering droughts in parts of Africa and India and playing a role in a record hurricane season in the Pacific.

China suffered a similar El Nino effect in 1998 when 4,159 people died from severe flooding along the Yangtze. Flood control measures along China's longest river, including dikes, have since been reinforced, but experts say severe floods are likely to hit the Yangtze's tributaries, according to Xinhua.

The Yangtze River flood control headquarters have ordered local authorities to remain on high alert.