Thursday, December 08, 2022

Heavy rainfall in southern China floods cities, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate

BEIJING ( Associated Press) – Major floods have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in southern China, with more rain expected.

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Parts of Guangdong’s manufacturing center have suspended classes, office work and public transportation amid rising waters and the threat of landslides.

In the neighboring province of Jiangxi, nearly 500,000 people saw damage to their homes and uprooted their lives.

About the same number were affected in KwaZulu-Natal, largely in the cities of Shaoguan, Heyuan and Meizhou.

The heavy rainfall has caused roads in some parts of cities to collapse, sweeping away houses, cars and crops, and more rain is forecast for days to come. Chinese authorities on Sunday issued the year’s first red warning, the most severe warning, for possible mountain streams.

In the Zhejiang province north of KwaZulu-Natal, rescue teams in inflatable boats brought out residents trapped in their homes in flooded villages.

Further north, storm warnings were issued for many of the eastern provinces, including the capital Beijing, while reservoirs in the central Henan province were at flood level, releasing streams downstream.

China regularly experiences flooding during the summer months, mostly in central and southern areas that tend to receive the most rainfall. This year’s floods are the worst in decades in some areas and come on top of strict COVID-19 regulations that have strangled travel, work and ordinary life in much of the country.

China’s worst floods in recent years were in 1998, when more than 2,000 people died and nearly 3 million homes were destroyed, mostly along the Yangtze, China’s most powerful river.

The government has invested heavily in flood control and hydroelectric projects such as the massive Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze.

Globally, more intense tropical storms are on the rise due to climate change, leading to increased floods threatening lives, crops and groundwater.

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