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CCTV footage showed upturned cars and damaged buildings near Meizhou, with residents in rubber boots picking through muddy, debris-laden streets to salvage their belongings.

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Other images showed sections of a highway swept away by landslides and rescue workers in orange lifejackets steering dinghies through the floodwaters to reach trapped villagers.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for emergency workers to “make every effort to respond to disaster situations and do a good job of relief and rescue work to combat flooding and drought”, Xinhua reported.

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He instructed the rescuers to “guarantee the security of people’s lives and property, and overall social stability”.

Flooding has also hit the southern and central provinces of Guangxi and Hunan, as well as the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where Xinhua said four people were missing after a flash flood near the city of Changji.

At the same time, China’s north is wilting under some of the year’s hottest weather.

The mercury was expected to soar to up to 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) in the capital Beijing and the surrounding areas of Tianjin and Hebei on Tuesday, the National Meteorological Centre said.

The authorities have also moved to offer drought prevention and disaster relief in seven provinces across China’s north, east and centre.

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China is enduring a summer of extreme weather, which scientists say is made more common by climate change.



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