Weather forecasters have warned of a fresh onslaught of downpours across southern China, which has already been battered by floods and landslides that have killed more than 200 people. The disaster, which has hit 10 provinces or regions, has caused an estimated 43 billion yuan (more than four billion pounds) of economic losses and displaced 2.4 million people. Thousands of soldiers have been dispatched to flood-hit areas to help in rescue and evacuation work. Troops have been seen struggling up soaked hills with food supplies to help residents stuck in their villages and carrying rowing boats to areas submerged in brown, muddy water. Alternating floods and droughts have plagued China's people for millennia. The current floods are among the worst in south China since 1998, when over 3,600 people were killed and more than 20 million displaced. Large flood-hit areas of southern and southwestern China, particularly Guizhou, Guangxi and Chongqing, had only just recently emerged from a crippling drought that in some regions was the worst in a century.