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Thousands rescued as severe floods hit southeast China


At least 4 people have been killed and thousands evacuated after heavy rain caused severe floods in southeast China over the past couple of days. Last week, record-breaking rain caused major flooding in parts of Guangdong Province, affecting nearly 9 000 people. These are the first signs of this year's rainy season in the region. 

As of May 15, the recent severe weather and flooding affected parts of Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi, Chongqing, Guizhou and Yunnan. China's Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) said at least 4 people have lost their lives. Crops and buildings have suffered severe damage

Jiangxi was the worst affected. Some 200 homes there reportedly collapsed and almost 2 000 people needed emergency rescue. The Ministry said more than 1 600 people were evacuated across the country's southeast and needed emergency resettlement.

Heavy rain on May 7 and 8, caused major flooding in parts of Guangdong, affecting a total of 8 600 people. More than 2 800 required emergency resettlement, according to MCA. Xinhua said the number is closer to 7 000. At least 400 houses were destroyed or severely damaged and as many as 1 100 people had to be rescued.

Within just 14 hours, northern Guangzhou saw record-breaking 524.1 mm (20.63 inches) of rain on May 7, Guangdong Meteorological Bureau said, as quoted by local media. 

In April 2017, MCA reported, natural disasters in China affected 1.26 million people and killed 23. 11 000 people needed emergency resettlement and 11 000 had to be rescued. In total, natural disasters affected 112 300 hectares (277 500 acres) of crops, destroyed 1 000 and damaged 13 500 houses.

The rainy seasons in China last mainly from May to September.

In summer, a southeast monsoon from the western Pacific Ocean and a southwest monsoon from the equatorial Indian Ocean blow onto the Chinese mainland, bringing heavy rainfall. Starting in April and May, the summer rainy season monsoons hit the southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan.

Seasonal monsoon of 2016 broke numerous records by the end of July and caused widespread deadly flooding and landslides. In total, 833 people died, and 233 went missing in weather-related incidents, the highest number reported in the same period since 2011.

Last year's flooding disasters have followed a strong El Niño year, which is not unprecedented. A similar occurrence was reported after the strong El Niño in 1998, as the floods across the Yangtze River Basin caused $44 billion worth damage and killed 3 656 people.

Featured image: Floods in China's Guangdong Province, May 7, 2017. Credit: People's Daily


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