Xi urges all-out response to floods, drought in China

A man paddles a raft along a flooded street in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on June 18, 2024. The local Lijiang River overflowed due to recent downpours, causing floods in some sections of the city. - Photo provided to China Daily

BEIJING: President Xi Jinping has urged an all-out response to the recent floods and drought conditions that have hit different regions across the country, saying that utmost efforts must be made in the search for and rescue of missing and trapped individuals and the resettlement of affected residents.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, highlighted in an instruction published on Tuesday (June 18) the importance of maintaining normal production and daily routines and minimising disaster losses to the greatest extent possible.

He noted that heavy rainfall has recently hit many regions in southern China, triggering floods and geological disasters in provinces including Guangdong and Fujian and leading to casualties and property damage.

Meanwhile, drought conditions in parts of North China have become more severe, he said.

As China is set to face more challenges in flood control with the start of the main flood season, Xi urged authorities at all levels to strengthen their risk awareness, think about worst-case scenarios and ensure that their responsibilities are fulfilled and make solid work in disaster relief.

He also stressed the need to strengthen disaster monitoring and early warning, identify and eliminate potential risks, stock up on equipment and supplies, improve contingency plans, and effectively respond to various emergencies to ensure the safety of people and their property.

The nation has ramped up its flood control and disaster relief measures as floods triggered by rainstorms wreaked havoc in southern China.

Meanwhile, scorching heat is baking central and northern China, with many national weather stations registering record-breaking daily high temperatures.

On Monday, the national commission for disaster prevention, reduction and relief responded to the severe rainstorm and flood disasters in Fujian and Guangdong provinces by initiating a Level 4 emergency response, the lowest in a four-tier system.

Task forces were deployed to the disaster-affected regions to assist relief efforts and ensure that the basic living needs of residents are met.

Five people died and 15 others were missing after heavy rainfall hit multiple areas in Meizhou, Guangdong province, starting on Sunday, and led to power outages, internet disruptions and waterlogging.

Rainstorms have also resulted in four deaths and two people missing in Wuping county, Fujian province, as of Monday. In the province's Shanghang county, rain-triggered floods killed four people as of Tuesday.

Chen Tao, chief forecaster at the National Meteorological Centre, said that because the western Pacific subtropical high-pressure system gradually strengthened and moved northward starting on Tuesday, precipitation in Fujian and Guangdong will significantly decrease.

However, from Tuesday through the end of the month, the central and lower reaches of the Yangtze River will experience concentrated rainfall.

Parts of the region will receive precipitation of more than 300mm, which is more than twice the usual amount for the same period in a typical year, Chen said.

Jia Xiaolong, deputy director of the National Climate Center, said the lagging effect of the El Nino phenomenon may result in comparatively bad summer climate conditions, with extreme weather events becoming more frequent and floods being more prevalent than droughts.

Precipitation levels in the eastern monsoon region are expected to be higher than usual, and regional and episodic flooding disasters will be prominent.

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced on Tuesday the allocation of 443 million yuan ($61 million) to seven provinces in northern, central and eastern China — Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi Jiangsu and Anhui — in response to drought-induced damage to crops caused by prolonged heat and insufficient rainfall.

The funds will be primarily used to provide subsidies for agricultural drought-resistant measures such as watering, soil moisture replenishment, crop conversion and additional fertilization to ensure the successful completion of the critical summer sowing stage.

Wang Weiyue, a meteorological analyst at Weather China, warned of a sudden shift between drought conditions and flooding.

As the rain belt moves northward, some areas in southern China will experience less precipitation and hotter temperatures.

Meanwhile, areas of southern and eastern Hubei, central and northern Anhui and Jiangsu, which were previously affected by drought conditions, will see frequent rainfall in the next two weeks, Wang said.

Preparations should be made in these areas to prevent secondary disasters such as mountain floods, landslides, debris flows, and floods in small and medium-sized rivers, he added. - China Daily/ANN

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China , response , floods , drought , President Xi Jinping


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