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Rescue teams have hands full as floods besiege east, south

Efforts underway in Guangdong, Fujian as persistent rainfall raises river levels

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-20 07:16
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Police officers transfer residents trapped by flooding in a community in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Wednesday. LI HANCHI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Rescue teams are working tirelessly in southern and eastern China after torrential rains caused devastating floods. The focus remains on locating survivors and providing relief to affected areas.

In Meizhou, a city in Guangdong province, dramatic rescues unfolded on Tuesday. An elderly woman trapped for over 40 hours in her collapsed home in Shizai village was pulled to safety, and another resident was rescued after he clung to a lamppost as floodwaters engulfed his home.

Meizhou has seen extensive preparations and evacuations, according to Long Qizhen, Party chief of Wengui village in Meizhou. Over 67,000 residents have been relocated from flood-hit areas.

"We never expected to be struck by such a catastrophic flood that has damaged so many houses in the village," Long said. "Fortunately, we made advance preparations, and all the villagers have been relocated."

Helicopters have been busy transporting the injured and distributing disaster relief supplies to flood-hit areas, Long added.

Southern Power Grid announced on Wednesday that electricity had been restored by Tuesday night to more than 80 percent of the households that experienced blackouts in Guangdong. Some 388,000 households lost power when floods struck the province following heavy rainstorms that have occurred since Saturday. Many electrical supply facilities were destroyed or damaged. The power company dispatched several thousand repair personnel, more than 1,000 vehicles and 34 emergency power generation vehicles to affected areas.

Since June 9, persistent torrential rains have hit large areas in the south and east, especially in the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, where 11 stations recorded 24-hour rainfall exceeding historical highs, leading to floods and mudslides, according to the National Meteorological Center.

In Shanghang county, Fujian, rescuers are still searching for six people who have been missing since a centuries-old temple collapsed due to a mountain landslide on Sunday night. They are a couple, their parents and two children, who had sought shelter in the temple.

In Laibin, a city in Guangxi, the local marine department coordinated two ferries to rescue 53 people stranded by flooding in the town of Yunjiang on Wednesday.

Authorities in Guilin, a tourist city in Guangxi, raised a red flood warning signal, the highest level, on Wednesday when the water level of the Lijiang River, which runs through the city, reached 3.61 meters above the warning line. The water level at the river's hydrological station in Rongjiang township has hit a record high, threatening residents' lives and properties along the river.

Guilin authorities have urged relevant departments, townships and scenic spots to take effective measures to prevent and combat possible flooding in the coming days as water levels in major rivers continue to rise.

Along with the flooding and rising water levels in Guilin, the vast middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River will face similar challenges in the next two weeks as the lingering rain belt moves northward, bringing torrential rains, according to the National Meteorological Center.

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