China: More than 240,000 people evacuated due to torrential rains : News

More than 240,000 people have been evacuated in eastern China after heavy rains hit much of the country, causing the Yangtze River to swell, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

China has been hit for several months by extreme weather conditions, between torrential rains and heat waves.

The country is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, a key factor climate change scientists say is making such weather disruptions more frequent and intense.

By Tuesday afternoon, the rains had ravaged “36 counties and districts in seven prefecture-level cities in Anhui, according to the provincial emergency management department” and affected 991,000 residents, 242,000 of whom had to be evacuated, the agency said.

The news outlet also said water levels on the Yangtze River, China’s longest at 6,380 kilometers, had exceeded alert levels in the section that runs through Anhui, a province west of Shanghai.

Alert levels for 20 other rivers and six lakes in the region have also been raised due to the torrential rain.

Footage from state television CCTV on Wednesday showed a stretch of the Yangtze River rising so high that it almost completely covered a sculpture in the city of Wuhu that normally sits 12 meters above the water.

Other footage showed volunteers wearing red vests patrolling the river banks, carrying umbrellas and storing life jackets and buoys along the banks.

More than 100 millimeters of rain were recorded in 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday by hundreds of weather stations in Anhui province, according to Xinhua.

In Hexi County, near the provincial capital Hefei, about 260 millimeters were counted.

Tens of thousands of state agents have been deployed to monitor dams and levees along the Yangtze River, the official agency said.

Rain is forecast to continue from Wednesday to Friday and a warning for possible “geological disasters” has been issued in the south.

Last month, mountain floods in central Hunan killed five people, according to state media, while a landslide in the same province killed eight.

Heavy rains also caused flooding in June in the southern province of Guangdong, emblematic of China’s manufacturing power. At least 38 people lost their lives there.

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