At least 18 people were killed and four reported missing as heavy rains and storms lashed southern Chinese provinces in the past week, the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing the country's ministry of civil affairs. In the last 48 hours, some areas have recorded over 20 centimeters (nearly 8 inches) of rainfall.

Several homes were destroyed and tens of thousands of residents were dislocated due to the heavy rains, the ministry said Friday, according to the AP. The deaths were mainly due to house collapses, landslides, drowning or lightning.

The heaviest rainfall was reported in Hubei province, which also reported the highest number of deaths at 10. The region’s local civil affairs agency reportedly said that 664,000 people were affected in the province. In the neighboring Hunan province, 527,000 people were affected.

Five deaths were reported in the municipality of Chongqing, two in the Guizhou province and one in the Anhui province, the AP reported.

On Thursday, the National Meteorological Center issued a yellow alert to warn people against heavy rains in the country and the increased risk of landslides and floods, China Daily, a local newspaper, reported.