Authorities reported Friday that heavy rains in central China’s Hubei province killed at least 21 people, weeks after record floods destroyed havoc and killed hundreds in a neighboring province.
China has been battered by unprecedented rains in recent months, extreme weather that experts say is increasingly common due to global warming.
“Heavy rains pounded townships from Wednesday to Friday, killing twenty-one people and leaving four others missing,” state broadcaster Xinhua reported Friday.
Footage showed families wading in water that had risen to almost hip level and carrying essentials in plastic bags in Yicheng, which saw a record 480 millimetres (around 19 inches) of rain on Thursday. Rescuers carried people to safety on bulldozers.
“The water levels rose to about two to three meters yesterday. My neighbour’s house was completely destroyed,” a resident of one of Suzhou’s worst-affected neighbourhoods told local media.
“We haven’t seen so much rain in 20 or 30 years.”
According to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management, hundreds of firefighters, as well as thousands of police and military officials, have been rushed to the worst-affected areas.
Around 100,000 people were evacuated in the southwestern province of Sichuan last weekend as heavy rains caused several landslides.
Last month, record downpours a year’s worth of rain on a city in three days in central China’s Henan province, killing over 300 people.
China’s Meteorological Administration warned that heavy rainfall was likely to continue until next week, with regions along the Yangtze River, including Shanghai, vulnerable to flooding.
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