Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated in China in several southern and eastern provinces due to floods and landslides triggered by incessant rains. Two provinces upgraded flood warnings on Tuesday as rivers were spate and flood water levels broke 50-year highs.
Videos from state media showed cars swaying on roads and people being rescued with ropes across overflowing rivers. Meteorological officials say that the region has been receiving the heaviest rainfall since 1961. Residents of communities living along the river and low-lying areas have been urged to move to higher ground.
Shoguan in Guangdong province has been one of the worst affected, prompting authorities to raise flood warnings to the highest level as the city has received record rainfall since late May. A similar alert was issued in Guangdong’s Qingyuan city.
In the lower Pearl Basin, which encircles Guangdong and Guangxi, rains have disrupted supply chains, manufacturing and shipping that are already suffering under strict anti-COVID measures.
Meanwhile, according to Xinhua News, authorities raised a flood warning in northeast China’s Jiangxi province after 485,000 people were affected in nine districts.
Xinhua reported that the region had suffered economic damage of 470 million yuan ($70.2 million, £57 million), with 43,300 hectares of crops destroyed. Local officials have warned that the situation will likely worsen in the coming days and will continue to raise water levels in the Pearl River basin.
China’s National Meteorological Center said average rainfall in Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi provinces reached 621 millimetres between early May and mid-June – the highest since 1961.
Southern China receives regular flooding during the summer rainy season, but there are concerns that climate change exacerbates the situation. In contrast, many areas in the country’s north are experiencing unusually high temperatures, but further rains are expected.