Aaj English TV

Tuesday, May 21, 2024  
12 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Massive river flooding expected in China’s Guangdong, threatening millions

China’s water resource ministry issued an emergency advisory, CCTV reports

Major rivers, waterways and reservoirs in China’s Guangdong province are expected to unleash dangerous floods, forcing the government to enact emergency response plans on Sunday to protect more than 127 million people.

Calling the situation “grim”, local weather officials said sections of rivers and tributaries at the Xijiang and Beijiang basins are hitting water levels in a rare spike with only a one-in-50 chance of happening in any given year, state broadcaster CCTV news said.

China’s water resource ministry issued an emergency advisory, CCTV reported.

Guangdong officials urged departments in all localities and municipalities to begin emergency planning to avert natural disasters and promptly disperse disaster relief funds and materials to ensure affected people have food, clothing, water and shelter.

The province, a major exporter and one of China’s main commercial and trading centres, has seen major downpours and strong winds for several days, in a weather pattern affecting other parts of the country.

A 12-hour spell of heavy rain, starting from 8:00pm local time on Saturday, battered the central and northern parts of the province, including the cities of Zhaoqing, Shaoguan, Qingyuan and Jiangmen, where rescue workers have been dispatched.

According to state media, more than 45,000 people were evacuated in Qingyuan and some power facilities in Zhaoqing were damaged, cutting power to some places.

State-backed media outlets said that in Guangdong, 1.16 million households overall lost power due to the heavy rains.

Meanwhile, Chinese state radio said that around 1,103 schools in Zhaoqing, Shaoguan and Qingyuan will suspend classes on Monday.

Water town

“Please look at Zhaoqing’s Huaiji county, which has become a water town. The elderly and children at [sic] the countryside don’t know what to do with power outages and no signal,” said one user on social media site Weibo.

Raging floodwaters swept one vehicle down a narrow street in Zhaoqing, a video released by Hongxing News showed.

“It rained like a waterfall for an hour and a half on the highway driving home last night,” said another Weibo user. “I couldn’t see the road at all.”

Authorities in Qingyuan and Shaoguan also suspended ships from travelling through several rivers, with maritime departments dispatching forces to remain on duty and coordinate emergency tugboats and rescue vessels.

Many hydrological stations in the province are exceeding water levels, weather officials warned, while in the provincial capital Guangzhou — a city of 18 million — reservoirs have reached flood limits, city officials announced on Sunday.

Data showed 2,609 hydrological stations with daily rainfall greater than 50 millimetres, accounting for about 59 per cent of all observation stations. At 8:00am local time on Sunday, 27 hydrological stations in Guangdong were on alert.

In neighbouring Guangxi state media footage showed violent hurricane-like winds whipping the region and destroying buildings. Some places have also experienced hailstones and major flooding, CCTV said.

In another video, rescuers could be seen trying to save an elderly person clinging to a tree, half-submerged in floodwaters.

As of 10:00am local time, 65 landslides were recorded in the city of Hezhou in Guangxi, state media reported.

Weather forecasters expect heavy rain through Monday in the Guangxi region, Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang provinces.

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