Thursday, June 13, 2024

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

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Imaginechina

Water levels rise in Qingyuan City, Guangdong Province, on Sunday.

Major rivers, waterways and reservoirs in China’s Guangdong province are threatening to unleash dangerous floods, forcing the government on Sunday to enact emergency response plans 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 river basins are hitting peak water levels that only happen once in 50 years, according to state broadcaster CCTV news on Sunday.

Massive flooding is expected in the Beijiang basin, CCTV said quoting China’s water resource ministry, prompting it to raise an emergency advisory.

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 a place to live.

The province has seen torrid downpours for several days and strong winds due to severe convective weather, which has affected several parts of China over the past few weeks.

A 12-hour stretch of heavy rain, starting from 8pm (12am GMT) Saturday, battered the central and northern parts of the province in Zhaoqing, Shaoguan, Qingyuan and Jiangmen.

Almost 20,000 people have been evacuated in Qingyuan, according to state media, and some power facilities in Zhaoqing were damaged, cutting power to some places.

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

Many hydrological stations in the province are exceeding water levels, weather officials warned, and 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 mm, accounting for about 59 percent of all observation stations. At 8am Sunday, 27 hydrological stations in Guangdong were on alert.

In the neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, west of Guangdong, violent hurricane-like winds can be seen destroying buildings from state media video footage. Some places have also experienced hailstones and major flooding, CCTV said.

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