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Southern regions working to battle heavy flooding impact

38 people have died, two others missing in Pingyuan, Guangdong, as of Friday

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou, Li Menghan in Beijing,Li Menghan and Shi Ruipeng in Nanning | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-22 08:03
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Villagers carry essential supplies back to a relocation site in Wuping county, Longyan, Fujian province, on Thursday. Multiple townships in Wuping have been affected by prolonged downpours in recent days, causing heavy damage. The local government has ramped up efforts to carry out disaster relief and ensure the safety of residents. ZHOU YI/XINHUA

At least 38 people have died and two others went missing when catastrophic floods struck Pingyuan county in Meizhou, Guangdong province, over the previous week, the local flood control department said on Friday.

A total of 55,388 residents have been affected by the floods, with 2,247 houses collapsing and 3,202 others suffering damage, the flood control department said in a statement.

According to the statement, since the flood season began on April 4, cumulative precipitation in the county has reached 1,221.6 millimeters, double the figure recorded over the same period in previous years.

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Party secretary of Guangdong, has required relevant departments to give top priority to ensuring smooth road transportation, communications and sufficient water and power supplies in flood-hit areas, while mobilizing residents to restore production and rebuild their homes.

Huang visited Guangdong's Meizhou where floods hit the hardest, on Thursday, and said relevant departments should put people's lives first in the fight against the natural disaster.

All-out efforts are being made to restore production and normal traffic operations as floodwaters have begun to recede in major deluged areas around the country starting Thursday.

Authorities urged relevant departments to continue to be alert for possible landslides, flashfloods, dike failures and building collapses, as geological hazards often appear after floodwaters recede.

The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters launched a Level-4 emergency response on Thursday, the lowest in China's four-tier emergency response system, for floods in Anhui and Hubei provinces and Chongqing.

It maintained a Level-3 emergency response to flooding in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and a Level-4 emergency response for Zhejiang, Guizhou, Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces.

In Guilin, Guangxi, the city's main railway station began to resume passenger service on Friday, allowing people to travel normally.

The station temporarily suspended passenger service beginning on Wednesday because of flooding in an adjacent square and inside the station's waiting area, according to a statement released by the station. The local flood control department raised its emergency response for flood control to Level 1, the most severe of the emergency response system, on Wednesday.

Floodwaters in the square have since been removed and waiting rooms and related public areas have been disinfected, it said.

On Friday, the flood crest of the Xijiang River, a major tributary of the Pearl River, passed Zhaoqing in western Guangdong, forcing many residents who live in low-lying areas along the river to be evacuated to safety or relocated, authorities said.

The catastrophic floods that began affecting Guangdong a week ago in the wake of continuous torrential rains destroyed many homes, bridges and highways and flooded many villages and farmlands in the previous week.

Wu Hongyu, chief forecaster with the Guangdong Meteorological Service, said unique weather conditions led to frequent and prolonged heavy rainfall in South China this spring.

Meanwhile, temperatures in Guangdong have been relatively high since the beginning of the flood season, atmospheric moisture content is abundant and high-pressure fronts are prevalent, resulting in abnormally high precipitation and rain intensity, said Wu.

In Huangshan, Anhui, heavy flooding has affected more than 220,000 residents, including 14,367 who were relocated, when 30 homes collapsed and 744 were damaged as of Friday, according to a statement released by the city government.

Around 14,200 hectares of crops were affected, causing direct economic losses valued at more than 640 million yuan ($88 million), it said.

Zhu Lixin in Hefei contributed to this story.

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