BEIJING (AP) — Four days of heavy rain have caused severe flooding in central China, killing at least 15 people and leaving 19 others missing, China's Ministry of Civil Affairs said Tuesday.

The deaths in four provinces and one municipality were from drownings, mudslides and house collapses, the ministry said.

Up to 51.4 centimeters (20 inches) of rain fell in the eastern city of Changzhou from Friday to Monday, and water levels of rivers and lakes were dangerously high in a six-province region across the country's central part, the ministry said.

Millions of people have been affected by the heavy rains since Friday and tens of thousands were relocated, the ministry said.

Heavy rain in southern China earlier in June left at least 18 people dead.

Heavy rains often trigger landslides and flooding, partly because of China's mountainous terrain and the erosion of soil from decades of development, including infrastructure construction.