Four dead, over a dozen missing as extreme weather hits China

By AFP   June 18, 2024 | 07:22 pm PT
Four dead, over a dozen missing as extreme weather hits China
An aerial drone photo taken on April 21, 2024 shows a road damaged by landslides in Jiangwan town of Wujiang district, Shaoguan city, south China's Guangdong Province. Photo by handed out by AFP
At least four people were killed when record rains hit parts of southern China, state media reported Tuesday, while more than a dozen were missing even as the north baked under some of its highest temperatures this year.

Downpours "exceeding historical daily maximums" in some areas of Fujian province caused the four deaths, state news agency Xinhua said, citing the flood control headquarters of Shanghang County.

More than 66,000 people in the county have been affected by the extreme weather, Xinhua said, adding that "communications and electricity infrastructure... has not been fully restored". It also warned of possible landslides.

It said that "investigations into the situations of affected people" were underway.

In nearby Meizhou, Guangdong province, landslides on Monday killed five people, left 15 missing and another 13 were "trapped" by early morning, state broadcaster CCTV reported Tuesday.

CCTV footage showed upturned cars and damaged buildings near Meizhou, with residents in rubber boots picking through muddy, debris-laden streets to salvage their belongings.

Other images showed sections of highway swept away by landslides and rescue workers in orange lifejackets steering dinghies through the floodwaters to reach trapped villagers.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for emergency workers to "make every effort to respond to disaster situations and do a good job of relief and rescue work to combat flooding and drought", Xinhua said on Tuesday.

He instructed rescuers to "guarantee the security of people's lives and property, and overall social stability", it said.

Flooding has also hit the southern and central provinces of Guangxi and Hunan, as well as the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where Xinhua said on Tuesday four people were missing after a flash flood near the city of Changji.

At the same time, China's north is wilting under some of the year's hottest weather.

The mercury was expected to soar to up to 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) in the capital Beijing and the surrounding areas of Tianjin and Hebei on Tuesday, the National Meteorological Centre said.

Authorities have also moved to offer drought prevention and disaster relief in seven provinces across China's north, east and centre.

China is enduring a summer of extreme weather, which scientists say is made more common by climate change.

Greenhouse gases, of which China is the world's biggest emitter, are a key contributor to climate change.

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