updated 9/26/2008 5:24:36 PM ET 2008-09-26T21:24:36

Flash floods and landslides unleashed by heavy rains have killed 16 people in one of the areas hit hardest by the massive May earthquake in China's Sichuan province, the local government said Friday.

About 20,000 people affected by the floods were evacuated and have been moved to safer places and given food and water, the city's Communist Party propaganda department said in a statement.

"So far, we have moved 18,000 residents who were threatened with danger to safe areas. We are now relocating the other 2,000," a government official was quoted by official Xinhua News Agency as saying.

The flooding and landslides since Wednesday also have left 48 people missing and 360 people injured in Sichuan's Mianyang city, the agency said. More than 42,000 houses have been destroyed.

Xinhua reported that rescuers were struggling to repair damaged roads and to restore water and electricity supplies.

The bad weather and landslides come as large parts of Sichuan province are still recovering from the May 12 quake that killed nearly 70,000 and left 5 million homeless.

Since then, the government has been rebuilding schools, roads and other infrastructure in the area.

Many of the counties hit by the latest heavy rains had been ravaged by the earthquake, including Beichuan in northern Sichuan, which was almost completely flattened. The quake also left another 18,000 people missing and presumed dead.

Nine died in Beichuan in the flooding. Xinhua said many prefabricated houses put up after the earthquake had been washed away.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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