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Record-breaking rainfall in Guangdong, China leaves 4 dead, 10 missing

guangdong flood april 2024 f

Record-breaking rainfall affecting China’s Guangdong Province since Friday, April 19, 2024, pushed water levels in the Bei River, a tributary of the Pearl River, to exceed 50-year highs, causing widespread floods in which at least 4 people died and 10 others went missing. The floods caused extensive damage, including the destruction of 36 houses and severe damage to 48 others, incurring direct economic losses of nearly 140.6 million yuan.

From 10:00 LT on Friday, April 19 to 11:00 LT on Sunday, April 21, the province recorded an average rainfall of 121.8 mm (4.8 inches), with cities like Guangzhou, Shaoguan, and Lechang registering record rainfall figures for the month of April. Shaoguan was particularly hard hit, receiving a staggering 584.4 mm (23 inches) of rain by April 21, eclipsing the previous record of 417 mm (16.4 inches) set in 2023.

The National Meteorological Centre reported that the region received between 200 mm (7.9 inches) and 350 mm (13.8 inches) of rainfall since the beginning of April, with the situation culminating over the weekend.

Helicopters and rubber boats were utilized extensively as the central-northern regions along the Bei River were among the hardest hit.

Over 300 emergency personnel were deployed on Saturday, April 20 to rescue residents trapped by landslides in six villages within Jiangwan town.

In Qingyuan, central Guangdong, floodwaters on Sunday morning, April 21 reached the first floors of buildings, inundating homes and commercial buildings. By 16:00 on the same day, over 60 000 people had been evacuated from the affected areas.

Further impacts included the suspension of classes in Qingyuan schools and significant disruptions to rail services, affecting over 300 train journeys between Friday and Sunday. Rail operations resumed on Monday, April 22.

Additionally, the Feilaixia reservoir in Qingyuan saw water levels and flow rates approaching 100-year records on Monday.

According to the state-run news agency Xinhua, three people died during heavy downpours in Zhaoqing City while another died during a rescue mission in Shaoguan City. Ten are missing in the cities of Shaoguan and Qingyuan and over 110 000 residents have been moved from affected areas, as of April 22.

Among the missing are 4 who were on a vessel that collided with a pier of the Jiujiang Bridge and later sank. A preliminary assessment of the bridge found no obvious damage to the main structure. However, there were scratches on the bridge’s pier, requiring further assessment of the bridge’s safety.

Across the Guangdong Province, 36 houses collapsed while 48 were severely damaged, resulting in a direct economic loss of nearly 140.6 million yuan.

Provincial authorities earlier warned that the Bei River water levels were expected to hit ‘once in a century’ levels, but as the event progressed they lowered their predictions.

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Shaoguan, located in the north of the province, on Monday, April 22, downgraded the city’s flood emergency response warning to level three in a four-tier alert system in which level one is the most severe.

In light of ongoing threats, Shenzhen authorities issued a Red alert on Tuesday, April 23, urging the public to take immediate precautions against potential flooding and related hazards like landslides, mudslides, and flash floods. The heavy rainfall was expected to persist for several more hours, maintaining a critical situation in the region.

The storms marked the earlier-than-normal start to the province’s annual flooding season which usually begins in May and June.

Guangdong is China’s major economic and technological hub, known for its robust manufacturing industries and rapid technological advancements. It is the most populous province in China and serves as a critical gateway to the global market due to its strategic coastal position adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau.

The province has been at the forefront of China’s economic reforms and is home to the Pearl River Delta, one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world. This area, which includes cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Dongguan, is particularly renowned for its high-tech industries. Shenzhen, for example, is often dubbed the “Silicon Valley of Hardware” and hosts the headquarters of numerous multinational technology companies, including Huawei, Tencent, and DJI Innovations.


1 Record-breaking floods hit China’s Guangdong, killing 4 and displacing more than 110,000 – SCMP – April 22, 2024

2 Highest-level rainstorm warning issued in south China’s Guangdong – AP – April 23, 2024

3 4 missing after vessel hit bridge in China’s Guangdong – Xinhua – April 23, 2024


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