China’s south bears brunt of rains with at least nine dead and hundreds homeless

At least nine people are dead and 17 missing as heavy rains sweep through southern China, leaving many homeless.

Several provinces have issued flood warnings, sending teams to rescue residents and deliver food and supplies as the extreme weather continues.

Extreme rainfall hit Meizhou city in Guangdong province’s east on Sunday, leading to flash floods and landslides in multiple counties.

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At least five people had been found dead as of Monday, 13 were trapped and 15 were missing, according to the provincial headquarters for flood, drought and hurricane control.

More than 9,000 people joined emergency teams organised by the local government, which has raised Guangdong’s flood emergency response to level 3 – the second lowest in a four-tier system.

Three helicopters and 18 provincial teams of professionals have been sent to disaster-hit areas, the headquarters said.

As of Monday evening, 19 of the province’s river monitoring stations had detected water rising past warning levels, with the Hanjiang River reaching 55.32 metres (about 181ft), more than 5 metres (17ft) above the trigger point, Yangcheng Evening News said.

The same report said Guangdong’s Sanhe River was running at 48.1 metres (158ft), a full 6.1 metres (20ft) above the warning level.

Landslides in the neighbouring province of Fujian left four dead and two people missing in Longyan city’s Wuping county, in the province’s southwest, state broadcaster CCTV said on Monday evening.

Around 47,800 people in Wuping were affected by the heavy rains, with 378 houses collapsed, the report said.

Extreme rainfall hit Meizhou city in Guangdong province’s east on Sunday, leading to flash floods and landslides in multiple counties. Photo: Weibo

According to CCTV, 7.3km (4.54 miles) of the county’s roads have been damaged and 880 hectares of crops affected, with an estimated economic loss of 415 million yuan (US$57.2 million).

Guangxi Zhuang, the autonomous region bordering Vietnam, and Hunan province issued orange alerts on Monday evening, the second-highest alert level, as the rainstorms moved north and west.

Southern China has been battered with record-breaking rainfall since April. Water levels in the Bei River, a tributary of the Pearl River, have exceeded a 50-year high while cumulative rainfall has hit a record for the month in several areas.

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