Five people were killed and two others remain missing in the southeast province of Fujian.

Xinhua said that flooding had caused at least 287 rural houses to topple in the Jiangxi region where the Rongjiang river has overflowed its banks, forcing more than 70,000 people in the region to relocate.

The county government estimated the damage at $31 million.

China's national flood prevention office has estimated total damage costs of around $1.58bn.

'Worse weather' ahead

Since the start of the rainy season in April, more than 100 deaths have been attributed to the monsoon-like conditions and officials say worse weather may be on the way as the peak of the wet season nears.

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