BEIJING, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Heavy rains have left 22 people dead and 15 others missing in south China since Saturday, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH) said on Monday.

Storms have hit most of southern China since Saturday, pushing water levels in rivers to dangerous levels and forcing the evacuation of 267,800 people.

Some 10,500 houses collapsed and 324,000 hectares of crops have been damaged. Combined losses have been estimated in the region of 7.34 billion yuan (1.12 billion U.S. dollars).

Torrential rain is forecast to continue in south China over the next three days, prompting the SFDH to launch a level-IV emergency response, the least severe warning in the flood control authority's four-level response regime.