May 26, 2024

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Floods of the century are feared in southern China


South ChinaFloods “happen only once in a century”

In China's southern Guangdong province, rivers and reservoirs are at risk of overflowing. In many places, people do not have electricity or cell phones.

Karin Ludold
  • It has been raining continuously since Thursday in southern China.

  • Many rivers and waterways are already flooded.

  • By Sunday evening, 20,000 people had been evacuated.

China could face “once-in-a-century” floods: Reservoirs, rivers and major waterways in China's Guangdong province are at risk of triggering dangerous floods, forcing the government to launch an emergency plan to protect more than 127 million people.

Since Thursday, torrential rains have caused rivers in the Pearl River Delta to overflow in large parts of Guangdong, causing flooding in mountainous areas there. A video of an elderly man clinging to a half-submerged tree in the city of Guangxi has gone viral on social media.

In South China's Guangdong province, rains have caused landslides in several villages.

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Many places have no electricity and no cell phone reception

The northern cities of Zhaoqing, Shoguan, Qingyuan and Jiangmen were hit by continuous rain for 12 hours on Saturday. “It rained like a waterfall for an hour and a half on the highway on the way home last night,” wrote one user on the Weibo platform. “I couldn't see the road at all.”

Footage released by CCTV shows houses destroyed by a wall of brown mud. At least 6 people were injured and many were buried in the landslide.

Nearly 20,000 people were evacuated in the city of Qingyuan and some power plants were damaged in Zhaoqing, causing power outages in some areas. Broadcaster CCTV said work was also underway to restore communications “as quickly as possible” in the affected region.

Flooding is expected to peak on Monday

The Pearl River Delta is China's industrial heartland and one of the country's most populous regions. Authorities have initiated a level two disaster response for the region, the second highest in the four-tier system.

The National Weather Service has issued severe weather warnings for parts of Guangdong and warned of severe storms in coastal areas until Monday. CCTV said flood waters of up to 5.8 meters above the warning limit could hit the region on Monday morning. Initially there were no reports of mass evacuations.

China is no stranger to extreme weather events, but in recent years the country has been hit by severe floods, devastating droughts and record heat. Man-made climate change is making extreme weather events more frequent and intense. China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

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