Floods and drought Yangtze overflows, Yellow River dries up

SOUTHERN and central China were hit by severe floods over the weekend, while the region along the Yellow River is facing the most severe water shortage since 1949.  

Three cities – Meizhou, Heyuan and Shaoguan – in South China's Guangdong Province experienced torrential rainfall over the weekend, leaving 15 people dead and eight missing.  

In Hunan Province, mountain floods killed 25 people and left 13 people missing.  

Local authorities said about 1.24 million people in 19 counties were affected by the flooding.  

The heavy rainfall in Guangdong has caused floods, landslides and damaged houses, roads and water conservation, power supply and telecommunications facilities in rainstorm-hit areas.  

It was estimated that the disaster had resulted in direct economic losses totalling over 300 million yuan (RM136.8mil). 

Preliminary investigations show that 406,000 people in 89 towns and six counties of Meizhou City were affected, with seven killed and two others missing.  

According to the provincial Bureau of Water Resources, eight people were killed in Heyuan and Shaoguan cities.  

Three special teams have been dispatched by the provincial government to the three cities to guide the rescue efforts and help resettle people affected by the disaster.  

The search for missing people is still going on.  

Four people have been killed in Hunan's Zhuzhou as a result of torrential rain since Thursday.  

Floods caused by the rain also resulted in losses of 130 million yuan (RM59.6mil). 

Meanwhile, water volume of the Yellow River is expected to fall to 50-year lows, resulting in a sharp decline in agricultural output, according to sources with the Yellow River Conservancy Commission.  

The eight provinces and autonomous regions along the river – Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and Shandong – will face their most difficult situation since 1949.  

Water volume in major sections of the Yellow River from January to July 10 will be 8.2 billion cubic metres, 5.5 billion less than the figure in 1997, the most droughty year in recorded history.  

“The reason of the water shortage is not only the climate, but also the big increase of water usage in the Yellow River area,'' Professor Hong Shangchi of the commission said.  

Experts have pointed out that the water shortage in the Yellow River would continue for a rather long time before the South-to-North Water Diversion Project was concluded. – China Daily 

  • Another perspective from The China Daily, a partner of Asia News Network. 

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