Flood waters swept through northern Shanxi Province Saturday, inundating 40 villages, killing at least 21 people and leaving 30,000 others stranded as China's second largest river overflowed its banks.

Heavy rains battered Fenyang County for 31/2 hours, spawning powerful floods that killed 21 people and left 19 people missing, the official Xinhua News Agency said.The flooding, submerging 40 villages and destroying at least 100 homes, also stranded about 30,000 people across the province, it said.

In this Year of the Dragon - traditionally associated with death and destruction - China has simultaneously suffered flood, drought and the worst heat wave in a century, which together have claimed more than than 2,400 lives.