Deadly Flooding in South and Central China Causes Millions in Economic Losses

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rescue efforts during floods in China, 2021
This photo taken on July 11, 2021 shows rescuers searching for residents affected by flood following heavy rains in Dazhou, in China's southwestern Sichuan Province. (Image: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Extreme weather has been battering numerous provinces in the south and central regions of China for weeks, causing an unaccounted for amount of damage and resulting in numerous deaths and scores missing, while inflicting millions of dollars worth of direct economic losses.  

In Sichuan Province, more than 500,000 people have been affected by torrential rains leading to the evacuation of nearly 110,000 people in seven cities in the province. 

Authorities in the embattled province raised the alert level to orange as unrelenting rainstorms persisted in the province since July 9. The rain is being blamed for causing a direct economic loss of US$274 million in the region.

The China Meteorological Administration, in an update on Sunday, July 11, said heavy rainfall and rainstorms are expected in Beijing Tianjin along with Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong provinces until 8 p.m. on Monday. 

Local authorities were urged to adjust their emergency response levels based on their local conditions and were instructed to strengthen their weather monitoring and forecasting efforts.

Three working teams have been dispatched to Shanxi, Hebei, and Beijing to assist inundated local authorities. 

The emergency management bureau of Ya’an, Sichuan Province, has stated that the flooding in Sichuan has resulted in the deaths of six people while leaving an additional five others missing, reported China Daily. 

For twelve hours, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Monday July 12 heavy rains battered the area swelling the Qingyi River as well as the Mingshan, Lushan and Baoxing rivers. 

The Mingshan weather station reported precipitation of 187 millimeters per hour during the storm meaning that an estimated 2,244 millimeters of rain fell in the region in just twelve hours. 

Nearly 1 million affected by Guizhou floods

In China’s Guizhou province more than 954,000 people from 83 county-level regions were affected by torrential rains causing flooding, reported Xinhua News, a state funded news agency. 

According to the local provincial emergency management department, this year in Guizhou the average rainfall has registered as 615.5 mm, 5.6 percent more than last year. Since the flood season began, six regional rain storms have hit the province, with an average precipitation of 433.8 mm. 

The extreme weather has resulted in approximately 26,000 people being evacuated and an estimated direct economic loss of more than US$190 million.

Compounding the disaster, 67,900 hectares of crops were destroyed along with an estimated 19,300 homes. 

City of Jinan inundated by floods, severe winds

Heavy flooding due to torrential rainfall has inundated the eastern city of Jinan. 

Residents of the city were forced to wade through waist-high flood waters and drivers climbed to the roofs of their submerged vehicles to escape the rushing torrent of water. 

A local river overflowing is being blamed for the floods. 

The National Meteorological Center issued a blue rainstorm alert, the lowest of a four-tier warning system.

On June 30, prior to the extreme rain storms, Jinan was hit by severe high winds that destroyed buildings and uprooted trees in the city located in Shandong province. 

In 2020, floods in China were responsible for the displacement of approximately 744,000 people across 26 provinces with an estimated 81 people either confirmed dead or missing. 

The floods affected nearly 63.46 million people and caused a direct economic loss of US$27.665 billion. 

As this is just the beginning of the rainy season in many parts of China property loss, economic loss and the deaths of citizens are expected to rise as the provinces continue to battle extreme weather.