BEIJING (Agencies) - Heavy rains and ensuing flooding in southern and eastern China have left at least 55 and seven missing, while more than one million residents have been forced to flee their homes across nine provinces, including Sichuan, which is still reeling from last month's earthquake that killed almost 70,000 people, the government and state media said Sunday. Rains were expected to further pound southern China in the coming days, with rising river levels threatening towns in Jiangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi and Guangdong provinces, the state meteorological bureau said. According to the civil affairs ministry, at least 55 people have been killed and seven others were missing following torrential rains in nine provinces over the past week, the China News Service said. More than 1.27 million people have been evacuated in the hardest-hit regions, with large swathes of farmland submerged and economic losses already totalling $1.45b, it said. Almost 18 million people had been affected by flooding while more than 141,000 homes had been wrecked or damaged, it added. State television showed people rowing boats in the middle of towns in flooded areas, while in rural areas farmers frantically filled sand bags to block swollen rivers from spilling their waters onto croplands. The rains have washed away roads across the nine provinces and many areas have been hit by landslides, Xinhua news agency said. Prosperous Guangdong province was the worst affected. Rains there left at least 28 people dead or missing, with flooding in the Pearl River delta the worst in decades, it added. The Guangdong government issued an emergency flood alert throughout the province as levels in tributaries of the Pearl river hit or were surpassing danger levels, Xinhua said. The government had dispatched 10 special boats to Changle city, one of the worst-hit areas in Guangdong, where up to 100,000 people were being evacuated. In parts of Guangdong, up to 415mm of rain fell in a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday, Xinhua said, while the freakish weather dumped up to 451mm in parts of neighbouring Fujian province. Food prices, already a main driver of inflation in China, were also rising due to the flooding, with vegetable prices in some Guangdong cities up between 30 percent and 70 percent on Saturday alone, it said. In Guangxi province, which lies west of Guangdong, officials warned of rock and mudslides in mountainous areas where already the torrential rain has been responsible for the deaths of 14 people since last week, Xinhua said in a separate report. By late Saturday, 134 roads had been blocked and 22 bridges damaged in the province, leading to jams along highways and nearly 1,500 trucks stranded, it said.