Death toll from highway collapse in China rises to 48 – 02/05/2024 at 11:11

Death toll from highway collapse in China rises to 48 – 02/05/2024 at 11:11
Death toll from highway collapse in China rises to 48 – 02/05/2024 at 11:11

Aerial view of a collapsed section of a highway near Meizhou, south China’s Guangdong province, May 1, 2024 (CNS/CNS)

The collapse of a highway in southern China left 48 dead, according to a new report published Thursday by state media, while rescuers were still working on the site.

Intense rain caused a section of road from Meizhou city to Dabu county to collapse around 2:10 a.m. Wednesday (1810 GMT Tuesday). Heavier than normal at this time of year, just before the monsoon season, these rains are linked to climate change, experts believe.

Vehicles were thrown into the nearly 18 meter long gash in the tarmac and rolled down the steep slope below.

“Reporters learned at a press conference in Meizhou City, Guangdong, that the highway collapse disaster…resulted in the deaths of 48 people,” the agency reported official China News Thursday afternoon, while the death toll was 36 in the morning.

“In addition, the DNA of three people is being compared and confirmed,” indicated Chine Nouvelle, without specifying whether these three victims were included in the 48 people who died.

Thirty people were also injured but their lives are not threatened, according to the same Source.

Footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed excavators digging into the muddy hillside beneath the collapsed road. Nearby, a crane lifted charred and destroyed vehicles onto a truck, under the eyes of people held behind a security cordon.

President Xi Jinping ordered authorities to “step up efforts in rescue operations and treatment of the injured,” CCTV reported.

Around 500 people were sent to the scene to help with the rescue efforts.

The provincial government “mobilized specialized elite forces and went out of its way to carry out search and rescue operations,” according to Xinhua.

– “Geological disaster” –

State media called the road collapse a “natural geological disaster” caused by “the impact of persistent heavy rains” that fell in the densely populated industrial province in recent weeks, causing severe flooding and landslides.

“Intensifying climate change increases the likelihood of heavy rains that generally only appear during the summer months,” Yin Zhijie, head of hydrological forecasting at the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, said last month. on Chinese national radio.

Parts of central and eastern Guangdong, China’s manufacturing heartland, have received up to 600 millimeters of rain in the past ten days, three times more than the amount normally expected at this time of year. year, the national weather bureau said Thursday.

Up to 120 millimeters of additional rain is forecast for southwestern areas of the province on Thursday, with further showers in southern China through Sunday.

These conditions “increase the risk of disasters, particularly geological disasters, which have a certain latency period,” the weather bureau said.

China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change, but has pledged to reduce its emissions to zero by 2060.

Authorities have urged people to plan their trips carefully during the May holidays, which last until Sunday.

Last month, heavy rains in Guangdong caused flooding, killing four people and forcing the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.

Last week, a tornado killed five people as it crossed the megalopolis of Canton, the provincial capital.

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