Beijing floods death toll at 77
The death toll from the worst rains to hit Beijing in more than 60 years has risen to 77, more than doubling previous figures.
This is according to China's official Xinhua news agency.
Beijing authorities had announced late Sunday that 37 people had died after freak rains caused rivers to burst their banks and flood major highways, submerging large numbers of vehicles.
Many residents of China's sprawling capital had expressed doubts about the official toll, believing the true figure to be much higher.
In the worst-hit area of Fangshan, on the city's mountainous southwestern outskirts, distraught residents on Monday reported cars being swept away and said many people were still missing.
Many people took to China's microblog-like weibos to criticise the official response to the disaster in the capital, which came at a time of heightened political sensitivity ahead of a 10-yearly handover of power.
Some said the scale of the death and destruction could have been lessened if the government had issued better warnings, including by text message, and modernised Beijing's ancient drainage systems.
But many of the more critical posts were deleted from the Internet, apparently by censors.
China's state-run media was ordered to stick to positive stories or ordinary people's heroism during the disaster, leading to accusations of an official cover-up
Beijing city spokeswoman Wang Hui insisted earlier this week that authorities would not cover up the true number of deaths, acknowledging that the lack of official updates had given rise to public suspicion.
She said authorities recognised the importance of disclosing casualty figures, citing the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic of 2003 when China faced an international backlash for trying to cover up the disease.