About 600,000 soldiers have been mobilised to fight the worst summer flood in Hunan and Hubei area in recent history. The latest flood - mainly caused by non-stop rain - has already affected more than nine million people in Hunan province. In neighbouring Guangxi province, rescuers have airlifted hundreds of tonnes of food and more than one million bottles of mineral water to Liuzhou, which has been swamped by flood water. The whole city of Liuzhou was flooded except for a few areas of high ground after the water level of Liujiang river surged to its highest mark this century, a city government official said. 'The whole city is under water . . . Our most urgent problem is drinking water,' the official said. The situation in Liuzhou appeared to have stabilised yesterday with water levels receding by eight to nine metres, the official said. In Wuhan, Hubei province, officials and soldiers are on alert as the level of the Yangtze River rises. In Chenjiaji district of Hankou, the authorities mobilised 1,850 soldiers to build a new dyke in 18 hours to protect the west bank of the Zhujia River - a small tributary of the Yangtze River. Wuhan Mayor Zhao Baojiang was yesterday quoted by the Changjiang Daily as saying the city would suffer immense losses if the protective dyke in Chenjiaji gave way. He also said the Yangtze River would be seriously polluted if the Wuhan Chemical Plant which is located in Chenjiaji was flooded. In Chenjiaji, one factory worker who has been enlisted to join the flood-fighting squad said he has been on guard for the past eight days. A worker from the Wuhan Aluminium Factory said he and another 800 cadres were monitoring the crisis days and nights. Although feeling home-sick, the worker said this was a price he was willing to pay. 'What's the use of saving your family if the city is lost,' he said. The water level of the Yangtze River exceeded the warning line by 0.17 metre yesterday morning, reaching 28.45 metres. Hundreds more people were keeping a close watch on the Yangtze River in Hanyang, one of the major towns in Wuhan province. Around the intersection of Hanshui River and the Yangtze, the authorities have set up monitoring points every 10 metres along the Lanjiang Road - a major trunk road in Hanyang. The latest summer floods have killed at least 716 people across south and central China and left millions homeless or stranded. Nearly four million people across China have been cut off by flood waters, 810,000 homes have collapsed and 2.8 million homes have been damaged in eight provinces, Vice-Minister of Civil Affairs Fan Baojun said last week.