Days of continuous torrential rainfall have led to severe flooding in southern and eastern China. At least 186 people are reported to have been killed, with another 45 still missing. The extreme conditions have been blamed on an unusually powerful weather phenomenon known as a super El Nino.

Storms created havoc across a huge area of the country, with flooding and landslides reported in the provinces of Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Thousands of homes have collapsed and around 1.5 million people have been evacuated. At least 27 people have been killed in Hubei province, and another 18 lost their lives in Anhui province. The bodies of 23 people were found after a landslide buried a village in the mountainous Guizhou province.

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A stadium is nearly filled with water after torrential rain hit Ezhou in Hubei ProvinceReuters
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A man rides a scooter across a flooded bridge in WuhanAFP
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A pig swims in the floodwaters after the Jushui River broke through a dyke and flooded DongChun village in WuhanWang He/Getty Images
China floods
Chickens stand on a pile of dead chickens to avoid the floodwaters in a house in DongChun villageWang He/Getty Images
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People try to get a car out of a flooded parking garage in WuhanAFP
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A woman is rescued from a flooded house in Xinzhou, Hubei provinceAFP
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Rescue workers carry out a search at the site of a landslide in Bijie, Guizhou provinceReuters
China floods
Rescue workers carry a victim from the site of a landslide in Bijie, Guizhou provinceReuters
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A vehicle is driven through floodwaters in Rongjiang, Guizhou provinceReuters
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A resident rows a makeshift boat to make his way along a flooded street in Chaohu, Anhui provinceReuters
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A stranded dog shelters on an island of flood debris in the middle of a flooded street in Shucheng county, Anhui provinceReuters
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Paramilitary policemen try to repair flood defences in Nanjing, Jiangsu provinceReuters
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A man rides a motorcycle along a flooded street in Changzhou, Jiangsu provinceReuters

Rainstorms hit southern China every year during the summer monsoons, but this rainy season has been particularly wet. That's because this year's El Nino was so much stronger than normal that it was nicknamed Godzilla by Nasa. El Nino is the natural warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide. This year's higher ocean temperatures are believed to have triggered droughts in parts of Africa and India. It is also thought to have played a role in a record Pacific hurricane season.

A similarly strong El Nino effect was linked to China's worst floods in recent history. Some 4,150 people died in 1998, most along the Yangtze. Flood control measures along China's longest river have since been reinforced, but experts say this time severe floods are likely to hit the Yangtze's tributaries.