Relentless deadly rains lash southern China as flooding threatens millions

Relentless deadly rains lash southern China as flooding threatens millions
  • PublishedJune 23, 2024

Tens of thousands of people across southern China have been evacuated, with many more potentially at risk, as deadly torrential rains continue to lash the region, causing flash flooding and mudslides.

At least 55 people have died since June 9, Chinese state media reported Friday, with dramatic footage showing urban areas submerged in water and buildings appearing to subside as emergency responders in speedboats raced to rescue stranded residents.Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported on Friday that at least 47 people have died in the city of Meizhou in Guangdong province, among the hardest hit places amid reports of record flooding along the banks of the Songyuan and Shiku rivers.

The southern Guangdong province is an economic powerhouse home to 127 million people and is subject to annual flooding from April to September. But the region has faced more intense rainstorms and severe flooding in recent years as scientists warn the climate crisis will amplify extreme weather, making it deadlier and more frequent.

Villagers clean rubbish as torrential rains cause flooding on June 19, 2024 in Meizhou, Guangdong Province of China.

Villagers clean rubbish as torrential rains cause flooding on June 19, 2024 in Meizhou, Guangdong Province of China. John Ricky/Anadolu/Getty Images

Earlier in the week, more than 10,000 people were evacuated from Meizhou, and as many as 130,00 were left without power, with authorities in the city raising the flood control emergency response to Level-I, according to state media. China’s flood control emergency response system has four levels, with Level-I being the most severe.

Of those, 38 were reported dead in the city’s Pingyuan county and two people were reported missing, CCTV reported, adding that over 55,000 people have been affected by the heavy rainfall and the direct economic loss is estimated to be about 5.8 billion yuan ($799 million).

In the nearby southern province of Fujian, state media reported at least eight people had died, including four in Wuping county and the rest in Shanghang county, adding that heavy rainfall has affected an estimated 586,500 people across 40 counties.

Aerial view of an area affected by torrential rains on June 18, 2024 in Sishui Town, Pingyuan County, Meizhou City, Guangdong Province of China.

Aerial view of an area affected by torrential rains on June 18, 2024 in Sishui Town, Pingyuan County, Meizhou City, Guangdong Province of China. Lian Zhicheng/VCG/Getty Images

And in Guangxi, a neighboring southern region to the west, state media reported 48 rivers were running above flood alert levels, forcing authorities to introduce a Level-II emergency response.

The Lijiang River, a famous and popular tourist destination that runs through Guilin, saw its worst flooding since 1998, resulting in more than 6,000 people being evacuated, state media reported on Thursday.

Villagers stand in the water as torrential rains cause flooding on June 19, 2024 in Meizhou, Guangdong Province of China.

Villagers stand in the water as torrential rains cause flooding on June 19, 2024 in Meizhou, Guangdong Province of China. John Ricky/Anadolu/Getty Images

The emergency response to the flooding comes as Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for all-out efforts to safeguard lives and property, as China grapples with extreme weather with heavy rains in the south and severe drought and record temperatures in the north.

A rescue worker assists a resident on a flooded street after storms in Guilin, in southwestern China's Guangxi province on June 20, 2024.

A rescue worker assists a resident on a flooded street after storms in Guilin, in southwestern China’s Guangxi province on June 20, 2024. Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Other parts of China are also facing earlier and longer extreme heat periods and droughts each year, causing widespread power shortages and disruptions on food and industrial supply chains.

SOURCE: CNNNEWS

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