Since June, devastating floods have affected 38 million people, more than the entire population of Canada. Some 2.24 million people have been displaced, with 141 dead or missing, the Ministry of Emergency Management announced on Monday.
Chinese authorities raised the country’s flood alert to the second highest level of a four-level emergency response system on Sunday. Chinese President Xi Jinping called the flood control situation “very grim” and called for “stronger and more effective measures” to protect lives and property.
The disaster that is taking place occurs while China is still reeling from the aftermath of the coronavirus.
The pandemic and a shutdown of several weeks in a large part of China dealt a historic blow to the economy of the country. GDP fell 6.8% in the first quarter, the first contraction reported by Beijing since 1976. The country promised in May to spend 3.6 trillion yuan (500 billion US dollars) on its economy this year in declines. taxes, infrastructure projects and other stimulus packages as part of an attempt to create 9 million jobs and lessen the fallout from the pandemic.
A total of 443 rivers across the country have been flooded, including 33 swelling to the highest level ever recorded, the Ministry of Water Resources announced on Monday.
The majority of these rivers are found in the vast basin of the Yangtze River, which flows from west to east through the densely populated provinces of central China. The river is the country’s longest and most important waterway, irrigating large tracts of agricultural land and connecting a chain of inland industrial metropolises to the Shanghai Mall on the east coast.
This year, the summer rains came early and poured in with unusual intensity. In recent weeks, average precipitation in the Yangtze River basin has reached a record level since 1961, authorities said.
“Compared to before, this year’s precipitation has been more intense and has hit the same area several times, which has put significant pressure on flood control,” said Chen Tao, chief meteorologist from the National Meteorological Center, quoted by Xinhua.
The sweeping of the floodwaters left a trail of devastation, devastating 8.72 million acres of agricultural land, destroying 28,000 houses and in some cases submerging entire cities.
According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, the floods caused 82.23 billion yuan (11.75 billion US dollars) in economic losses nationwide on Sunday.
In central China’s Hubei Province, which accounted for more than 80% of all coronavirus cases in China, historic precipitation levels have been recorded in several cities, causing widespread flooding and landslides. More than 9 million residents were affected in the province’s 60 million residents on Thursday, causing economic losses of 11.12 billion yuan (1.59 billion US dollars), Xinhua reported.
Authorities in the provincial capital of Hubei, Wuhan, the epicenter of origin of the coronavirus, raised the city’s flood alert level to second highest last week after days of heavy rain that submerged well many of its roads and a park by the water.
Further down the Yangtze River in eastern Jiangxi Province, water levels in China’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Poyang, have reached a historic high of 22.52 meters (74 feet), well above the alert level of 19.50 meters (64 feet). , according to Xinhua.
The floods disrupted the lives of more than 5.5 million people in the province on Sunday afternoon, with nearly half a million people evacuated from their homes, the Chinese television channel CCTV reported.
The floods are unlikely to subside because more rain is forecast for the next few days. On Tuesday, the China Meteorological Administration issued a blue alert for heavy rain from Tuesday to Saturday in several provinces of the country, including Sichuan, Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.