The government estimates that the floods have caused economic losses to the tune of $2.7bn [Reuters]

At least 14 people have been killed in China after a week of heavy rains triggered floods and landslides across the country, the government says.

The ministry of civil affairs said in a statement late on Monday that the rain had forced authorities to evacuate more than 1.2 million people from their homes.

"Constant strong rainfall has caused serious flood disasters in Sichuan (southwest), Shaanxi (north) and Henan (central China)," the statement said.

More than 120,000 houses have collapsed and economic losses from damaged houses, crops and land is estimated to have reached $2.7bn, it added.

Work teams are helping with relief efforts, distributing thousands of tents, cots, blankets and clothing, the ministry said.

Over the weekend, officials in Sichuan's Dazhou and Guangan regions ordered the evacuation of over 600,000 people as major tributaries to the Yangtze - China's longest river - exceeded danger levels, the Xinhua news agency said.

The Jialing river was recorded 23ft above alert levels, and waters were expected to rise to their highest levels since record-keeping began in 1847, the statement added.

China is hit by big downpours every summer. Last year saw the nation's worst flooding in a decade, leaving more than 4,300 people dead or missing.

Source: Agencies