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Massive Flooding in China Submerges Roads, Traps Residents Inside Leaking Buildings

The flooding and heavy rain began in May, but until recently mainly affected the provinces of southern China
A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights' related issues, politics, tech and society.
Published: June 28, 2022
A rescue worker is seen making his way through floodwaters after heavy rainfall and flooding struck China’s southwestern province of Guizhou on July 15, 2015. (Image: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

A number of cities and provinces across China are being battered by torrential downpours that have destroyed homes — trapping people inside leaking buildings — and submerged streets and roads. In some instances, the rains were so heavy that desperate residents could be seen trying to escape waist-deep waters by climbing out of their car windows and swimming to safety. 

The heavy rains have struck the megalopolis of Chongqing in southwestern China, as well as Jinan and Qingdao of Shandong Province — with videos posted on social media showing communities being “waterlogged” and trapped, while other residents were seen stuck inside leaking buildings with no way to escape. 

Rescuer workers are seen evacuating residents in a flooded area after heavy rains caused severe damage to homes and buildings in China’s southern province of Guangdong on June 22, 2022. (Image: by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Other cities in Shandong, which lies in northern China, such as Zaozhuang and Tai’an, also suffered heavy rainfall since the beginning of this year’s flood season — which typically runs from June to September. The flooding and heavy rains began in May, but until recently mainly affected the provinces of southern China. 

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On June 26, a prolonged rainstorm striking Qingdao showed many flooded roads and streets in the city, and some cars were even seen being washed away while their owners looked on in despair. 

Flooded cars seen nearly completely sinking into waist-deep waters in Qingdao, China. (Image: via YouMaker/Screenshot)

Sinking cars trigger emergency alert 

After recording almost 4 feet of rainfall, Qingdao’s Meteorological Station issued a “red alert signal” — the highest level of warning for natural disasters in the country. On June 26, the city’s authorities also alerted nearby areas of Qingdao as well as communities in Pingdu, Jiaozhou, Jimo, and Chengyang to be on high alert, and avoid leaving their homes due to the perilous flood conditions. 

As of 8 p.m. on June 26th, meteorologists from Qingdao said that it was an impossible task to accurately gauge the amount of rainfall as the “rains have been ongoing, and have not stopped for several days.” Due to the worsening weather conditions, all trains at Qingdao’s North Station were either running late or were canceled or postponed until further notice. 

A video posted on Chinese streaming platform YouMaker showed sections of Qingdao’s Jimo city being completely submerged in water and several vehicles left stranded. A witness in the scene can be heard saying, “It’s over, just watch [that car] completely sink into the water.”

(Image: via YouMaker/Screenshot)

In another video, a man can be seen climbing out of his car window in order to escape the floods. Several vehicles were also seen stuck in a beeline as the waters closed off any viable roads that would allow them to exit.

(Video: via Twitter)

Severe flooding plagues Chongqing

Heavy rains were also seen in two districts across Chongqing, Hechuan and Jiangjin. In addition, over 10 districts and counties — including Kowloon Slope and Beibei — as well as the populated Liangjiang New District, were also plagued by heavy rainfall and flooding. 

At 11:20 p.m, Chongqing’s Meteorological Station upgraded the city’s “Yellow Rainstorm Warning Signal” to “Orange Rainstorm Warning Signal,” — the second-highest level of alert. 

In another video posted on YouMaker, several streets in the city could be seen “becoming a sea of water,” with several vehicles seen floating in the heavy waters, and in some cases, even garages could be seen being filled with water and debris. 

In this video, an incident in China’s Guangdong Province on June 19 saw cars and houses being destroyed by the floods. (Video: via YouTube)

Furthermore, continuing heavy to torrential rainfall is expected to hit the eastern and southern areas of the Sichuan Basin, most of Chongqing, southeastern Shaanxi, western Hubei, central and eastern Henan, Shandong, northern Suwan, China’s capital of Beijing, Tianjin, central and eastern Hebei, Liaoning, southeastern Jilin, and even as far as the remote southeastern province of Inner Mongolia. 

Alerts have also been issued for certain areas in northeastern Sichuan Province, western and northern Chongqing, central Shandong, eastern Henan, and Liaoning. Meteorologists have also warned the public to be mindful of landslides and mudslides following the heavy rains.