Hundreds of thousands evacuated as floods ravage southern China

Rescuers evacuated trapped residents in Shaoguan, Guangdong.

Several provinces in southeastern China were hit by torrential rain, causing floods and landslides, evacuating hundreds of thousands of people.

The flood control, drought and wind prevention headquarters of Guangdong Province, a major manufacturing province, announced on Tuesday (June 21) that it would upgrade its emergency response to flood control to the highest “Level I”. Citing official figures, Chinese media reported that nearly 500,000 people have been affected in the province, 1,729 houses have collapsed, and more than 200,000 people have been urgently relocated.

In Shangrao, Jiangxi, a railway employee inspects flooded tracks.In Shangrao, Jiangxi, a railway employee inspects flooded tracks.

In Shangrao, Jiangxi, a railway employee inspects flooded tracks.

According to the National Climate Center of China, from early May to mid-June, the average rainfall in the three provinces of Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi reached 621 mm, the highest in the same period in history since 1961.

The video showed many cars being swept away by the floodwaters and rescuers using ropes to rescue the trapped people from the rushing river. Residents living near river banks and in low-lying areas were asked to move to higher ground.

Shaoguan City in Guangdong Province was one of the worst-hit cities. The city has seen record rainfall since late May and officials raised flood warnings to the highest level. A similar warning was issued in Qingyuan City, Guangdong.

Governments in Shaoguan and other places issued notices requiring suspension of work, classes and operations.

A woman walks through a flooded street in Jianou, FujianA woman walks through a flooded street in Jianou, Fujian

A woman walks through a flooded street in Jianou, Fujian.

According to reports, at noon on Tuesday (June 21), the water level at Yingde Station in Beijiang, Guangdong reached 34.57 meters, exceeding the warning water level by 8.57 meters and exceeding the highest water level measured in history.

The British and German governments said that on Wednesday (June 22), there will be a flood peak of up to 36.10 meters in the main urban area of ​​England, calling on people to evacuate quickly.

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Footage on social media showed the ground floor of some local buildings being completely flooded.

In the low-lying Pearl River Delta, torrential rains have exacerbated the crisis in the supply chain. Previously, local manufacturing and shipping have been affected by the new crown epidemic blockade measures.

Floods in Yangshuo Scenic Spot in Guilin, GuangxiFloods in Yangshuo Scenic Spot in Guilin, Guangxi

The Yangshuo scenic spot in Guilin, Guangxi is flooded.

Meanwhile, 485,000 people in nine regions in southeastern China’s Jiangxi province were affected by floods, state media reported, and authorities issued a red flood warning on Monday (June 20).

The region suffered economic losses of 470 million yuan ($70.2 million) and 43,300 hectares of crops were destroyed, Xinhua reported.

Local officials warned that the situation could worsen in the coming days, with water levels in the Pearl River basin continuing to rise.

Southern China is often flooded in summer, but there are concerns that climate change is exacerbating the situation.

By contrast, many areas in the north of the country are experiencing unusually high temperatures, but forecasts suggest rain is likely to follow.