The landslide happened in Shuangfeng County, which saw an average rainfall of 100 mm Thursday, China's state-run Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying.

Elsewhere in Hunan one person was killed and six others are missing after a ferryboat capsized early on Friday.

The boat travelling to Yongzhou City was overturned by the torrential flow of the river after a night of heavy rains.

Officials say worse weather may be on the way as the peak of the wet season nears [Reuters]
"A survivor said the boat failed to pull into the shore the first time. When it tried again, everyone on board nervously stood up, so the boat lost balance and capsized,"  Xinhua quoted a government official as saying.

In Guizhou province dozens of roads have been damaged by torrential rain, while traffic in dozens of towns and cities has been brought to a standstill as roads become impassable.

Heavy rainfall also triggered a mudslide in the city of Chongqing, blocking a main road there.

Emergency workers have been clearing stretches of the Yangtze river to keep water levels from increasing too much.

On Wednesday a flood relief drill was held in Anhui province to prepare soldiers for the peak of the flood season.

Earlier in the week the city of Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, experienced its heaviest rainfall in 27 years, with 147mm falling in 24 hours up to 8am on Monday.

China's national flood prevention office has estimated that the recent flooding has caused losses of around $1.58bn.