Flood-ravaged China braces for more rains
Flood-hit areas of central and southern China braced for more heavy rains Monday with several major rivers already swollen after downpours that have affected millions and left scores dead or missing.
Water Resources Minister Chen Lei warned that at least 10 major rivers in the affected areas were threatening to burst their banks.
“Severe floods triggered by heavy rains will continue to threaten parts of southern China,” he said Sunday in remarks posted on his ministry’s website.
“There is an increasing possibility that downpours, with enhanced frequency and intensity, will continue to lash regions in the south.”
Persistent rains since early June have swamped many areas across a wide swath of China and the state weather bureau on Monday forecast continued downpours over the next three days, with the summer typhoon season approaching. More than 1.6 million people in 13 provinces, regions and municipalities had been evacuated from their homes from June 3-20 due to flooding, the civil affairs ministry said Monday.
The rains had left at least 261 people dead or missing while more than 36 million have been “affected” one way or another by the rain and flooding, it added.
A three-hour downpour dumped a near-record 312 millimetres of rain in Wangmo county in Guizhou province in the southwest, while over 200 millimetres of rain had fallen over short periods in other regions, Chen said.
State television broadcast footage of the flooded streets of Wuhan, the capital of the central Hubei province.
Newspapers carried photos of crowded boats evacuating stranded villagers and numerous flooded roads.
In the east of the country, a 30-metre-deep sinkhole slashed into a highway.
Authorities have evacuated 292,000 people from along the Qiantang river in Zhejiang province on the east coast after heavy rains caused the river to swell dangerously, official Xinhua News Agency said.
Dykes stretching more than 70 kilometres along the Lan river in the Zhejiang city of Lanxi were at risk of bursting and authorities were preparing evacuation plans for residents in the area, the agency added.