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Torrential rains cause heavy damage

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-17 23:15
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Members of a rescue team transport residents to safety on Sunday in Jian'ou, a county-level city in Nanping, Fujian province, on Sunday. As of noon on Sunday, a total of around 26,300 residents had been relocated due to torrential rainfall from June 9 to Sunday afternoon. [Photo by Wei Yongqing / China News Service]

At least nine people have died, 17 others were missing, and 13 were stranded after catastrophic floods struck southern and eastern Chinese provinces over the weekend.

Multiple areas in Meizhou, Guangdong province, suffered heavy rains starting on Sunday, resulting in five people being killed, 15 missing and 13 stranded by Monday, said a statement released on Monday evening by the Guangdong provincial flood control headquarters.

Wuping in Longyan, Fujian province, has been hit by heavy rainstorms starting at 2 pm on Sunday, affecting more than 47,800 residents, with four people dead and two missing, according to a statement released by the county government on Monday afternoon.

Relevant departments were making every effort to search for and rescue missing people, the statement said.

A total of 378 homes were destroyed, 880 hectares of farmland flooded and 73.3 kilometers of roads in 135 sections damaged in Wuping, with direct economic losses reaching more than 415 million yuan ($57.64 million), it said.

Guangdong has been hit hard by the floods caused by continuous downpours since Thursday, with many homes, bridges and sections of highway having been destroyed, and the supply of drinking water and electricity interrupted.

Jiaoling and Pingyuan counties in Meizhou, a city in eastern Guangdong, were hardest hit during the latest round of heavy rainfall starting on Saturday.

"It was a once-in-a-century flood that hit the village," said a resident surnamed Deng in Jiaoling.

The river near the village had burst its banks when the level had reached five to six meters above the warning line, said Deng.

A resident of Pingyuan who asked to remain anonymous said many villagers had to be evacuated to higher ground when the flood hit on Sunday evening. "Fortunately, all the villagers are safe," he said.

The floodwater had reached the second story of his home, he told local media, adding that water and electricity supplies had yet to be restored on Monday.

Meizhou has raised its emergency response for flood control to Level 1 — the most severe of China's four-tier emergency response system — on Monday, the city's flood control authorities said.

Many schools in Meizhou suspended classes on Monday.

According to the Pearl River Water Resources Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources, 17 rivers in the Hanjiang River basin in the eastern part of Guangdong experienced floods exceeding warning levels, with seven rivers exceeding the protection level. The Songyuan and Shikou rivers experienced their biggest floods since records began.

In Chongqing, five rivers, including the Qijiang River, had seen water levels rise by at least one meter since the weekend due to torrential rains, but this was still below the safety level.

Yang Shunan, a forecaster from the National Meteorological Center, said that Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces remained at risk of flooding as well as geological disasters such as mudslides, and the latter danger also exists in Guangdong and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Part of the band of lingering rain is forecast to move northward, mainly affecting the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River from Wednesday to Friday, Yang added.

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