At least 78 people have been killed and another 91 are missing across China after a round of torrential rains swept through the country earlier this week, flooding streams, triggering landslides and destroying houses.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said late Friday that more than 400,000 people have been evacuated.

The northern province of Hebei is the worst-hit with 36 people dead and another 77 missing.

In the Hebei town of Xingtai alone, nine people were killed and 11 unaccounted for.

Local police blames a failure of a river levee for the heavy casualties, but villagers have complained to local media that they were not notified in time to evacuate when authorities decided to discharge floodwater from an upstream reservoir.