Economic losses in the wake of Fanapi have been estimated to more than $300 million [AFP]

The death toll from Typhoon Fanapi that devastated parts of southern China has risen to 55 people.

Fourty-two others were still missing on Friday as heavy rains flooded low-lying areas in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.

Some areas have received more than half a metre of rain within 24 hours. Flooding and landslides have forced the evacuation of almost 100,000 people.

Paramilitary soldiers have been deployed to rescue stranded residents, repair roads and restore power. In some areas of Guangdong, authorities had to use helicopters to air-drop relief supplies.

The typhoon has damaged tens of thousands of hectares of farmland.

The Xinhua news agency said 3,600 homes had been destroyed and economic losses were estimated to more than $300m.

Fanapi hit China on Monday after raking Taiwan with heavy rains, killing two people and leaving more than 100 injured.

The storm has now moved westward, weakened to a low-pressure system.

This summer, floods and related disasters triggered by torrential rains have killed about 3,100 people in China and caused the evacuation of more than 15 million others, according to government figures.

Source: Agencies