Historic floods in south and east China in recent days have forced tens of thousands of people to flee the region and caused over $253 million in economic damage, Xinhua, China’s official state agency, reported on Tuesday.
Xinhua reported June 21 that tens of thousands of people have evacuated south and east China’s provinces due to the recent floods, while hundreds of thousands more are “affected” by the natural disaster. The BBC reported on Tuesday that “hundreds of thousands” of southern Chinese residents have been forced to flee their homes due to the excessive rains.
“The Headquarters of Flood Prevention and Drought Relief of east China’s Jiangxi Province upgraded the emergency measures for flood prevention to Level II on Monday evening as around 485,000 residents were affected by continuous rain,” according to Xinhua.
“From Saturday [June 18] until Monday 3 p.m [June 20], heavy rains and floods had hit 55 counties across Jiangxi, affecting 43,300 hectares of crops. The direct economic losses from the floods reached 470 million yuan (about 70.3 million U.S. dollars), according to the headquarters,” the news agency said.
Incessant rains in Jiangxi over the past week have swollen the province’s waterways. The water level of Poyang Lake in Jiangxi, China’s largest freshwater lake, exceeded the warning level on June 21.
The water level at the Xingzi hydrological station on Poyang Lake rose “0.05 meters above the alert level of 19 meters” around 3:00 p.m [on Tuesday],” Xinhua noted, adding that the water level of the lake is expected to rise further in the coming days.
Further detailing the aftermath of record rains in southern China’s Hunan and Guangdong provinces on Tuesday, the news agency wrote:
Continuous rain has also hit the neighboring province of Hunan since Friday [June 17]. From Tuesday 8 a.m [June 21]250,473 people were affected by rainstorms in Hunan, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.
Heavy rain has caused 94 houses to collapse, forced 51,143 residents to relocate and damaged more than 21,607 hectares of crops in the province.
Downpours have triggered flooding and landslides in southern China’s Guangdong province. According to the provincial emergency management department, around 479,600 people in cities like Shaoguan, Heyuan and Meizhou were affected by the rains.
“The city of Shaoguan in Guangdong, where the average rainfall since late May has surpassed all previous records for the same period, raised the flood alert to the highest Level I on Tuesday morning [June 21]. Residents living along the riverbanks have been asked to move to higher ground,” Xinhua reported.
Southern China is regularly flooded during the summer rainy season, although this year’s rainfall is the region’s highest in six decades.
“China’s National Meteorological Center said that the average rainfall in Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi provinces between early May and mid-June reached 621 millimeters — the highest since 1961,” the BBC reported June 21.