May 22, 2024

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Southern China: Massive floods threaten tens of millions due to heavy rains in the country

Southern China: Massive floods threaten tens of millions due to heavy rains in the country

Tingshu Wang/Reuters

Roads submerged in flood waters after heavy rain in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province, China, on April 22, 2024.


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Heavy rain fell for several days in the south ChinaWhich led to deadly floods and threatened to upend the lives of tens of millions of people, while rescuers rushed to evacuate residents trapped by rising water levels.

State media, citing the local government, reported that Guangdong Province, an economic powerhouse with a population of 127 million people, witnessed widespread flooding that forced more than 110,000 people to be displaced.

The New China News Agency (Xinhua) reported on Monday that the floods claimed the lives of at least four people in Guangdong Province, including a rescue worker. She added that at least 10 people are still missing.

Since April 16, incessant heavy rains have battered the Pearl River Delta, China's manufacturing heartland and one of the country's most densely populated regions, with four weather stations in Guangdong recording record rainfall for April.

The Pearl River Basin is exposed to annual flooding from April to September, but the region has faced it More severe rainstorms and severe flooding In recent years, scientists have been warning that the climate crisis will make extreme weather events worse, making them deadlier and more frequent.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters

Homes submerged in floodwaters in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province on April 22, 2024.

“Judging from the flood control situation in recent years, global warming and high temperatures have intensified, and heavy rains fall every year, leading to heavy rains and floods,” Yin Zhijie, chief hydrological meteorologist with the Ministry of Water Resources, told the state. -Turn on the paper port.

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Last year, China faced “more severe and intense” torrential rains during the flood season than in previous years, with 72 national meteorological stations recording record daily rainfall and 346 stations breaking monthly records, according to data from the National Meteorological Bureau. China Meteorological Administration.

Since last week, the waters of at least 44 rivers in the Pearl River Basin have overflowed above the warning line, threatening to overflow their banks, according to Reuters. State broadcaster CCTV.

On the Bai River, which flows into the Pearl River, the authorities did just that to caution The “once in a century” flood height is expected to reach 5.8 meters (19 feet) above the warning limit. The tributary had already burst its banks on April 8, marking the first arrival of the annual flood season since records began in 1998, according to Guangdong authorities.

The “massive flood” in the Bai River is the oldest ever to hit China in the highest category of the four-tier classification system, according to Yin, the forecaster. He added that floods of this size usually occur after late June.

Aerial footage broadcast by CCTV over the weekend showed villages submerged in murky floodwaters, with only roofs and treetops visible in some places.

In Zhaoqing's Guangning District, footage shared by residents on the short video app Douyin shows muddy brown water flowing through village streets and sweeping away cars. In Shaoguan, a man was seen pushing his scooter through shoulder-high floodwaters. In the city of Qingyuan, footage on social media showed strong storms and rain that felled trees and overturned motorcycles.

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Heavy rains also caused landslides near the city of Shaoguan in the mountainous region north of the province, injuring six people, Xinhua reported.

Authorities raised the emergency response to control floods in the Pearl River Delta to level two on Sunday – the second highest level in a four-level system.

Many cities suspended schools and hundreds of flights were canceled in the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

More than 80 homes either collapsed or were severely damaged, resulting in a direct economic loss estimated at 140 million yuan ($20 million), Xinhua reported.

More heavy rain is expected to fall in Guangdong this week, according to the provincial meteorological office.

This story has been updated with additional developments.