China’s Guangdong Province Faces Deadly Floods

Guangdong China Flood
Qiu Xinsheng/VCG via Getty Images

Floods ravaging the southern province of Guangdong, China, killed four people, and ten more are missing, Chinese state media reported on Monday.

More than 110,000 residents have been evacuated, as torrential rain caused river waters to swell, threatening “once in a century” flooding.

One of the largest and hastiest evacuations occurred in the northern Guangdong city of Qingyuan, which was built on both sides of the Bei River. The Bei River is a tributary of the Pearl River Delta, which expected floods of up to 19 feet above the danger line on Monday.

Qingyuan’s reservoir reported a 50-year high, while the water flow into its hydroelectric plant approached a 100-year high. Some buildings in Qingyuan were flooded all the way up to their second floors.

More than 45,000 people were evacuated from Qingyuan, which has a total population of about four million. Motorboats and helicopters prowled through the flooded city in search of stranded residents the following morning.

The rain subsided a little on Monday, but local officials still issued a yellow alert, the second-lowest warning level in China’s advisory system. Sporadic heavy downpours were predicted to continue until Tuesday.

In other towns across Qingyuan, mudslides destroyed buildings, and rice fields were destroyed. Landslides flooded and blocked roads, and rail travel was largely shut down, leaving some 300 emergency personnel to rescue people trapped in remote villages. One of the four reported fatalities was a rescue worker operating in the city of Shaoguan.

Guangdong province is a major manufacturing hub, dubbed the “factory floor of the world” because so many international supply lines pass through it. Summertime rain and flooding are not unusual in the area, but this rain was exceptionally early and heavy.

Two companies working in the area — Camelot PCB, a supplier of printed circuit boards to electric vehicle makers, and Polyrocks Chemical, which supplies plastics to tech companies like Apple and Samsung — assured Reuters on Monday that the flooding did not unduly affect their operations.


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