FLOODS : Hundreds of thousands affected by floods, landslides as heaviest rain in 60 years hits southern China
Almost half a million people have been affected by floods and landslides in the Chinese province of Guangdong, according to authorities, after parts of southern China were hit by the heaviest downpours in 60 years over the weekend.
Flooding caused by the torrential rain has forced 177,600 people to relocate, destroyed 1,729 houses, damaged 27.13 hectares of crop and caused losses of more than $250 million, Guangdong’s Department of Emergency Management said Tuesday.
Guangdong is one of at least seven provinces where the record rainfall has caused severe landslides and flooded roads, according to state media. In southwestern Guizhou province, swollen rivers spilled over roads, sweeping away cars and homes, videos on social media showed.
The downpours come amid warnings by experts that extreme weather is becoming more frequent.
Precipitation in Guangxi, Guangdong and Fujian reached its highest since 1961, local weather bureaus said on Saturday, as those areas recorded an average rainfall of 621 millimeters (24.4 inches) in the 46 day period from May 1 and June 15, according to state news agency Xinhua. That figure is equal to more than 90% of the countrywide average of 672.1 millimeters for the whole of 2021, based on data by the National Climate Center.
Weather experts say conditions are ripe for further heavy rainstorms in the south of the country and heatwaves in the north.
“Cold and warm air has converged over southern China, and the two sides have entered a deadlock and a tug of war,” Wang Weiyue, an analyst at weather.com.cn, an arm of the China Meteorological Administration, told Reuters.
Heavy rain is forecast to persist until Tuesday in the southern provinces of Guizhou, Jiangxi, Anhui, Zhejiang and Guangxi and then move northward.