Heavy Rains Lash Southern China, Killing at Least 9

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Heavy rains battered southern China over the weekend and into Tuesday, setting off landslides and causing roads and homes to collapse as rivers overran their banks.

The landslides and flash floods killed at least nine people in Fujian Province and neighboring Guangdong, China’s most populous province. Dozens of people remained trapped or missing as of Tuesday.

Days of severe rainfall forced thousands of people to evacuate and left more than 100,000 households without power as the region was inundated.

As of Monday, at least 17 rivers had risen above warning levels in Guangdong, according to local media. The province has a population of about 127 million people.

Video footage showed bridges collapsing into rushing rivers and debris floating down city streets after hundreds of buildings had collapsed.

While officials and rescue workers sought to control the deluge in southern China, the authorities faced the opposite problem in the north, which has been parched by high temperatures and little or no rainfall. The heat prompted warnings about damage to crops in farming areas in different parts of the country. China’s Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday it had allocated $61 million to help with replanting, watering and fertilizing in areas affected by the recent heat and lack of rain.

Officials in China’s central Henan Province last week increased the amount of water flowing from a local reservoir to relieve the drought.

On Tuesday afternoon, China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, noted the casualties and said that flood control and prevention efforts will be increasingly challenging as China enters its annual flood season, according to state media.

Officials warned that the severe weather was set to continue. On Tuesday, the National Meteorological Administration issued alerts for rainstorms and landslides in southern provinces that have already been hit by heavy rains. It also warned that in northern areas, temperatures could top 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

In April, nearly 20,000 people were evacuated from northern Guangdong when nine rivers were reported to be at risk of overflowing.

Last year, unusually heavy rainfall disrupted the summer wheat harvest in Henan. Only a few weeks later, nearly 1 million people were forced to evacuate in neighboring Hebei and adjacent villages around Beijing when the heaviest rainfall in more than a century pounded northern China, angering residents whose homes and farms were inundated when officials diverted floodwaters to spare the capital.



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