The landslides swept through villages in the southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan and in the central province of Hunan.

In a small township in Yunnan's Qiaojia county - the worst hit - 13 people died, 32 are still missing and 43 were injured, a spokesman for the local government told AFP news agency.

Relief teams were sent to the scene of the disaster with tents, rice, quilts and fresh clothing, Xinhua reported.

The China Daily newspaper reported two other landslides in Sichuan left 14 people dead, and one person was unaccounted for.

In Hunan, 10 people were killed and five others remained missing in two separate landslides, Xinhua said.

Rising reservoirs

Rescue workers are also racing to drain dozens of fast-rising reservoirs as they swelled beyond their warning levels.

The waters in a reservoir near the far western city of Golmud in Qinghai province began to subside after hundreds of workers and soldiers finished digging a diversion channel, an official at the province water bureau told the Associated Press news agency.

One million people have been evacuated from their homes due to the floods [EPA]

Usually prone to drought, Qinghai has seen increasingly heavy rainfalls in recent years.

This year's rains fell as snow melted in the surrounding mountains.

In the eastern province of Anhui, workers were draining overflowing reservoirs and repairing damaged dams, Xinhua reported.

About 70 per cent of the 282 reservoirs in the city of Chizhou have exceeded warning levels due to the torrential rains.

Since the beginning of July, flooding across China resulted in nearly a million people evacuated from their homes, according to Xinhua.

Parts of China experience annual flooding but this year's rains have been especially devastating.

According to the civil affairs ministry, storms this month have caused economic losses of $2.9bn.