Flooding displaces 10,000 around China as Beijing gets a relative respite from sweltering heat

AP , Monday 3 Jul 2023

Heavy flooding has displaced thousands of people around China as the capital had a relative respite from sweltering heat.

A security guard wearing an electric fan on his neck wipes his sweat on a hot day in Beijing, Monday, July 3, 2023. AP


Beijing reported 9.8 straight days when the temperature exceeded 35 C (95 F), the National Climate Center said Monday.

Such a streak was last recorded in 1961 — decades before most Beijing residents had air conditioning or even fans. A lack of rainfall may be contributing to the heat, with the typically dry capital receiving even less than usual this year.

While temperatures have since moderated — Monday's temperature at midday was 33 C (91 F) — they are expected to rise again this week to as high as 39.6 Celsius (103 Fahrenheit) in Beijing and other parts of the country, authorities said.

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people were urgently moved to safety due to flooding in the central province of Hunan, the Xiang’xi Emergency Management Bureau on Sunday.

Around 70 houses collapsed, 2,283 were damaged and farm fields were flooded. Losses so far have been estimated at least 575 million yuan ($79 million).

To the north in Shaanxi province’s Zhenba county, authorities reported the worst flooding in 50 years had washed out roads and damaged homes.

No deaths have been reported from the floods thus far.

The heat this year has been unusual, although China has regular summer flooding. Eleven provinces — around half of China's land area — were expected to received heavy rains in coming days, mainly in the humid south.

In 2021, more than 300 people died in the central province of Henan. Record rainfall inundated the provincial capital of Zhengzhou on July 20 that year, turning streets into rushing rivers and flooding at least part of a subway line.

China’s worst floods in recent history were in 1998, when 4,150 people died, most of them along the Yangtze River.

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