At least 37 died and another 37 were missing in three adjoining provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Hunan, reported the authorities.
Xinhua news agency reported that the citizens tried to widen emergency channels to divert some of the water away from villages.
Troops used some explosives to blast the holes in four dams along the Nitanggou river to reduce the risk of flooding.
However, the water let out from the reservoir may drench 400 hectres of farmland which would safeguard the densely populated Shipai township.
The locals say that the consequences would be disastrous if the dyke bursts.
Officials evacuated more than 10,000 people from the south-eastern province of Jiangxi on Wednesday, Jul 14 morning due to the overflow of three reservoirs in Poyang County.