Floods and drought continued to play havoc last week, raising the death toll
across the country, with experts blaming the freaky weather conditions on global
More than 700 people have been killed in floods, landslides, mudslides and
storms across 24 provinces and 82.05 million have been affected.
The water level in Huaihe River has started receding but incessant showers
continue in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River.
The Huaihe River Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said yesterday
that the water level at Wangjiaba, a key hydrological station in the middle
reaches of the Huaihe, dropped slightly below the danger level of 27.5 m on
Saturday night. That was the lowest in 26 days.
But Long Bin,
spokesman for Anhui provincial flood control headquarters, warned that the
southern part of the river would still be flowing above the danger level till
A 100-m stretch of a dam at Huajiahu in Fengtai County of Anhui in the lower
reaches of the Huaihe collapsed on Saturday.
The disaster occurred after 20 days of heavy downpours.
More than 1,000 villagers have been evacuated but no one has been reported
Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, has been battered by floods
because of the gushing Yangtze.
Hailstorms and rain claimed 10 lives and injured 300 people in Hubei in the
past two days, and about 1,600 people had to be moved to safer places.
Last week, heavy rain in mountainous regions of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous
Region caused floods and triggered landslides, killing more than 90 people,
stranding thousands and hampering the movement of traffic, the Ministry of Land
and Resources (MLR) said.
Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan has asked local governments to improve their
disaster forecast mechanisms and protect life and property at all costs as more
rain and typhoons are forecast for the coming weeks.
The MLR has sent 14 special teams to help local authorities handle possible
There are fears that the death toll in Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces could
rise with more rain forecast for the next few days, the Central Meteorological
Chinese experts blame the extreme weather conditions on global warming.
Unbalanced distribution of rainstorms, persistent high temperatures, severe
drought and powerful typhoons are all the result of climate change.
China Meteorological Administration Chief Forecaster Wang Yongguang said
abnormal weather will continue to plague most parts of China this summer and in
the years to come.
About 1.93 million people in South and parts of East China are facing acute
drinking water shortage because of drought.
And about 1.61 million hectares of farmland in Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and
Fujian provinces don't have irrigation water, according to the website of the
State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH) office.
Wang forecast two or three typhoons in August, saying a mild typhoon was
actually good as a drought relief.
Usually typhoons hit China once or twice every June, and twice or thrice in
July and August.
But till the end of this July, no major one has hit the country. "That's a
clear sign of abnormal weather," he said.
"Heavy rainfall doesn't increase the total precipitation level because it is
distributed unevenly over time and space," he said.
SFDH data show South and East China have received 50 percent or more rainfall
this summer compared to normal years.
On the other hand, parts of North and Northeast China are in the grip of
drought, considered the most serious in two decades, Xu Ying, director of the
climate change monitoring and analyzing office of the China Meteorological
Ministry of Water Resources officials said surface water in North China is
shrinking fast, resulting in a 12 percent reduction in the Yellow, Huaihe, Haihe
and Liaohe rivers.
Heat waves are sweeping across Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Fujian and Guangdong
And Fujian and the Chongqing Municipality have recorded temperatures above 35
C for 20 consecutive days.
An extreme temperature of 42 C was recorded in Zhejiang in 2003 and Chongqing
and Sichuan last year.