More than two dozen people have lost their lives and over 33,000 others been displaced after days of heavy and steady rains led to extensive flooding over a broad expanse of land in southern China.
China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs announced that some four million people have been affected by floods in 10 provinces ever since the torrential downpours arrived on Monday. Six people remain unaccounted for after being swept away.
Continuous rains have reportedly caused swollen rivers, landslides and mud-rock flows in the south-central province of Hunan.
A swollen river cut off the village of Aolin, leaving 1,500 residents stranded. Rescue teams had to use rubber dinghies to save people as power supplies were also lost in the wake of heavy downpours.
Youxian County is said to be one of the worst hit areas, where as much as 150 millimeters of rain fell in a short period on Friday.
Elsewhere in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, inundations have claimed the lives of at least three people. A total of 21,000 people have been evacuated to safer places and another 10,000 people are in urgent need of basic commodities, according to the provincial civil affairs department.
Rains and subsequent floods also destroyed 754 houses, seriously damaged another 408, ruined 20,200 hectares of crops, forced the evacuation of 5,900 people and inflicted a direct economic loss of about 150 million yuan (nearly 22.8 million US dollars) in the autonomous region of Guangxi, bordering Vietnam.
Additionally, steady downpours have brought widespread disruption across Guangdong Province, and forced schools to close.
More than 200 students were trapped inside a school in the province and had to scamper for their lives to the second floor of their building, as water levels had reached two meters deep in some areas.
The seasonal “plum rains,” also known as Meiyu-baiyu rains, usually affect China for around two months between late May and early summer. They have hit a good part of southern China a little early this year.
Over the next few days, the rains are expected to move northward. They will affect central China by the middle of next week, before swelling the Yangtse River.