Millions in southern China face floods caused by heavy rains

Nearly 34 million people affected by torrential downpours which have caused widespread disruption in the country.

Severe floods threat lingers across large parts of China
Millions of people have been affected by the torrential downpours which have caused widespread disruption across the country [EPA]

Large areas of southern China are flooded, affecting nearly 34 million people, with more rain expected in the coming days, state media reported on Sunday.

The state broadcaster CCTV reported that water levels in southwestern Guangxi province on the Rong River rose to 5.04 metres (16.5 feet) above warning levels following heavy rainfall since Saturday morning.

In Aba in southwestern Sichuan province, about 60 metres (197 feet) of road was destroyed after days of torrential rain caused the river to burst its banks.

Early warnings from the authorities meant there were no casualties reported. Rescue workers had to create a temporary route on the mountain top for vehicles to pass through, according to CCTV.

The network added that authorities in southern Jiangxi province are expecting severe flooding in Poyang, which is China’s largest freshwater lake and joins the Yangtze near the city of Jiujiang.

Water levels on the lake were rising at an unprecedented pace and reached 22.65 metres (74 feet) by 13:00 GMT on Saturday. That exceeded the record high set in 1998 and was well above the alert level of 19.5 metres (64 feet).

The floods since Monday have already affected 5.2 million people in Jiangxi province, with 432,000 people evacuated from their homes.

It also damaged 4.56 million hectares (11.27 million acres) of crops and destroyed 988 houses, causing damage estimated at nearly $929m, CCTV reported.

China’s emergency management ministry is sending aid to the province in the form of assault boats, tents, folding beds and blankets.

Elsewhere, a county in central China’s Hubei Province raised the flood-control response from level 2 to level 1, the top level of China’s four-tier emergency response for floods.

Yangxin County in Hubei’s Huangshi City has now had five rounds of heavy rain since the beginning of the rainy season, with a total of 714mm (28 inches) of rainfall between June 8 and July 10.

That is nearly twice the amount expected for that time of year.

The Chinese government has allocated about $44.2m for disaster relief in flood-hit regions of the country, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Saturday.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies