The heaviest rainfall in decades has caused floods and landslides in southern China, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.
Two provinces upgraded their flood warnings on Tuesday as rivers broke their banks.
The average rainfall in Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi provinces between early May and the middle of June reached 24ins (62.1cm), the highest since 1961, according to China’s National Meteorological Centre.
Image: This photo released by Xinhua News Agency via AP shows flooded areas of Wuyuan County, in southeastern China’s Jiangxi province
Guangdong province’s Shaoguan and Qingyuan cities raised their flood alerts to Level 1 – the highest.
Authorities urged residents to move to higher ground after floodwaters hit record levels, state television reported.
Officials also said construction sites, businesses, public transport and docks may be shut down, while staff unable to get to work should not be forced to do so.
In Jiangxi province to the northeast, authorities raised a flood “red alert” after 485,000 people in nine districts were affected, Xinhua news agency said.
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Economic losses reached 470 million yuan (£57.2m), with 43,300 hectares of crops destroyed, it reported.
State media photos showed flooded homes, people attempting to clear muddy landslides with spades, and erecting flood defences with sandbags.
This spell of heavy rain across southern provinces was expected to peak today and then forecast to move north from Wednesday.
Image: A man is rescued in Fujian province. Pic: China Daily via Reuters
China has experienced unprecedented rainfall in recent months – extreme weather which experts say is increasingly common due to global warming.
In August last year, 21 died after heavy downpours struck central China’s Hubei province, just weeks after record floods killed more than 300 people in neighbouring Henan province.
Source : Sky News