Southern China battered with massive floods; 4 killed, evacuation underway

Public TV English
Public TV English
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BEIJING (China) : Deadly floods brought on by heavy rains have threatened to upend the lives of tens of millions of people in Southern China, following which rescuers have rushed to evacuate trapped residents, CNN reported.

Guangdong province, which is considered an economic powerhouse and is home to 127 million people, has seen widespread flooding that has forced more than 110,000 people to be relocated, state media reported, citing the local government.

At least four people have been killed in the floods in Guangdong, including a rescue worker and at least 10 people are still missing, state news agency Xinhua reported Monday.

Pearl River Delta, China’s manufacturing heartland and one of the country’s most populated regions, has been pounded by torrential rains since April 16. Four weather stations in Guangdong registered record rainfall for April.

The Pearl River basin is prone to annual flooding from April to September, but the region has faced more intense rainstorms and severe floods in recent years as scientists warn that the climate crisis will amplify extreme weather, making it deadlier and more frequent.

“Judging from the flood control situation in recent years, climate warming and temperature rise have intensified, and extremely heavy rainfall occurs every year, leading to torrential rains and floods,” Yin Zhijie, chief hydrological forecaster at the Ministry of Water Resources, told state-run outlet The Paper.

China encountered “more intense and extreme” downpours in 2023 during the flood season than in previous years, with 72 national weather stations registering record daily rainfall and 346 stations breaking monthly records, CNN reported citing the China Meteorological Administration.

Since last week, at least 44 rivers in the Pearl River basin have swelled above the warning line, threatening to burst their banks, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

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

Yin further said that the “massive flood” at the Bei River is the earliest on record to hit China in the highest category of a four-tier classification system. He added that floods of this magnitude usually occur after late June.

The heavy downpours have also triggered landslides near Shaoguan city in the province’s mountainous north, injuring six people, according to Xinhua.

Amid the prevailing situation, the authorities raised the flood control emergency response for the Pearl River Delta to level 2 on Sunday – the second highest in a four-tier system.

Many cities have suspended schools and hundreds of flights have been cancelled in the metropolises of Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

More than 80 houses have either collapsed or been severely damaged, resulting in a direct economic loss of nearly 140 million yuan (USD 20 million), Xinhua reported.

However, relief is not in sight for the province as further heavy rainfall is expected to hit Guangdong this week, CNN reported citing the province’s Meteorological Bureau. (ANI)

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