Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Extreme weather in Guangzhou kills five and brings destruction to China’s industrial heartland

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At least five people were killed and 33 injured after a tornado struck the Chinese city of Guangzhou over the weekend, state media reported, in the latest bout of extreme weather to hit the country’s industrial heartland.

China’s official Xinhua news agency said that the tornado hit the Guangdong province capital, in the country’s south on Saturday. About 140 factories were damaged, but there were no reports of collapsed houses.

Guangdong, China’s most populous province, is home to 127 million people and thousands of factories that power the nation’s export sector.

Aerial photos posted by Chinese state media on Sunday showed the tornado had caused wide devastation in parts of the city. The images showed block upon block of damage in the hardest-hit areas with a few clusters of buildings standing amid the destruction.

People drive past a crumpled building after a tornado hit Guangzhou. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Rescuers from the city’s emergency management, weather, fire, waterworks and health departments, as well as local residents, were sent to the area, Xinhua said, adding that search and rescue work was completed there.

Earlier this week, torrential rains in Guangdong caused serious flooding, leaving four dead, in what was reported to be the worst flooding some parts of the province had seen since the 1950s.

More damage is seen near Guangzhou. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Tornadoes are not unusual in China. In 2023, Jiangsu was hit by a violent storm which killed 10 people after torrential rain lashed China’s southeast, causing massive evacuations and landslides in the wake of unrelenting weather brought on by the remnants of Typhoon Haikui.

In 2021, two tornadoes struck the country in one day, killing 12, including eight in Wuhan.

Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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