Historic floods across southern and eastern China have forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate the region in recent days and caused over $253 million in economic damage, Xinhua, China’s official state agency, reported on Tuesday.
Xinhua reported on June 21 that tens of thousands of people have evacuated southern and eastern Chinese provinces due to recent flooding while hundreds of thousands more have been “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 rainfall.
“The flood control and drought relief headquarters of east China’s Jiangxi Province upgraded the flood control emergency response to level II on Monday evening, as around 485,000 residents were affected by lingering rain,” according to Xinhua.
“From Saturday [June 18] to 3:00 p.m. Monday [June 20], heavy rain and floods had hit 55 counties across Jiangxi, with 43,300 hectares of crops affected. Direct economic losses from the floods reached 470 million yuan (about 70.3 million U.S. dollars), according to the headquarters,” the news agency relayed.
Relentless rainfall in Jiangxi over the past week has caused the province’s waterways to swell. The water level of Jiangxi’s Poyang Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in China, exceeded the warning level on June 21.
The water level at Poyang Lake’s Xingzi hydrological station rose “0.05 meters higher than the alert level of 19 meters at around 3 p.m. [on Tuesday],” Xinhua observed, adding that the lake’s water level is expected to continue rising over the next few days.
The press agency further detailed the aftermath of record rainfall across the southern Chinese provinces of Hunan and Guangdong on Tuesday, writing:
Persistent rain has also battered the neighboring Hunan Province since Friday [June 17]. As of 8 a.m. Tuesday [June 21], 250,473 people had been affected by rainstorms in Hunan, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.
Heavy precipitation has resulted in the collapse of 94 houses, forcing 51,143 local residents to relocate, and damaged more than 21,607 hectares of crops in the province.
In south China’s Guangdong Province, downpours have triggered floods and landslides. Around 479,600 people in cities including Shaoguan, Heyuan and Meizhou had been affected by the rainfall, according to the provincial emergency management department.
“Guangdong’s Shaoguan City, where average rainfall since late May has topped all previous records during the same period, raised the flood alert to Level I, the highest, on Tuesday morning [June 21]. Residents living on the river banks were asked to relocate to higher ground,” Xinhua reported.
Southern China regularly floods during the summer rainy season, though this year’s rainfall is the highest recorded in the region in six decades.
“China’s National Meteorological Center said the average rainfall in Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi provinces between early May and the middle of June reached 621 millimetres — the highest since 1961,” the BBC reported on June 21.