least 186 people have died due to severe flooding in southern China, as
weather authorities on Sunday restored an orange alert for heavy rain in
the next 24 hours.
Thunderstorms will hit the provinces of Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan,
Jiangxi, Guizhou and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region from Sunday
morning to Monday morning, with precipitation reaching up to 220
millimeters in some areas, the National Meteorological Center said on
China has a four-tier color-coded system for severe weather, with red
being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
Disaster relief authorities said on Sunday that 91 rivers have surpassed
their warning levels and that they are under severe pressure to prevent
more floods. They suggested people reduce outdoor activities and take
precautions against possible floods and landslides.
On Sunday, a second flood peak was formed in the middle and lower
reaches of the Yangtze River, China’s longest river. As of 3 am Sunday,
water at the Datong Hydrologic Station in Anhui Province had reached the
warning level and continued to rise.
Precipitation along the Yangtze has been around 20 percent more than in
Dongting Lake’s water level is about a meter higher than in previous
years, while the water level of Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater
body, is two meters higher than in previous years.
On Sunday, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters
reported that 186 people have died and 45 people are missing. Some 32.8
million people in 1,192 counties in 26 provincial-level regions have
been affected by the heavy rainfall and floods. More than 56,000 houses
have reportedly collapsed. The overall estimated damage was around 50.6
billion yuan ($7.62 billion).
In Hubei Province alone, 25 people have died and six others remain
missing. More than 6 million people are suffering from the floods. In
Anhui Province, 16 people were reportedly killed and six others remain
Chen Guiya, deputy director of the Yangtze River Water Resources
Committee, said there is absolutely no let-up in flood control efforts
as floods have damaged several river banks.
"Flood control facilities, especially the main dikes along the Yangtze
River have been reinforced since 1998 to withstand severe floods, but
rising water levels have damaged many river banks in the middle and
lower reaches of the Yangtze, posing great danger," Chen said.
A similar El Nino effect triggered heavy flooding along the Yangtze and
led to more than 1,320 deaths in 1998. Experts said the Yangtze’s main
dikes are not likely to be damaged by floods as they were in 1998, but
severe floods are likely to hit its tributaries.