Following a months-long drought, China now finds itself reeling from continuous downpours in recent days which have caused massive flooding, killed at least 52 and forced almost 100,000 people to evacuate its central and southern regions.
Heavy rainfalls at the beginning of the flood season have inundated portions of 12 provinces and have impacted a region of 4.81 million people. Flooding in the hardest hit province of Guizhou, in the southwestern part of China, has killed 21 and left 32 missing, Xinhua News reports.
In Wangmo County, the scene where all the deaths and many of the missing were reported, a deluge of almost five inches of rain fell in one hour, the maximum one-hour rainfall recorded in 200 years, said Shu Qingpeng, deputy head of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, at a Wednesday press conference, according to state media.
More than 3,000 rescuers are helping with the disaster in Wangmo County and attempting to locate the missing.
Before the flooding event, the drought has been having a major impact on farmers in the region, with the five provinces of Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Jiangxi along the middle and lower section of the Yangtze River being especially impacted. Early season rice crops have been suffering, with these five provinces accounting for almost half of China’s total rice area. The rains are expected to boost farmers’ hopes for mid-season rice crops.
China’s Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have allocated almost $5.4 million (35 million yuan) for help with flood relief.
China’s forecast calls for more rain in coming days and a warning has been issued for more flooding, landslides and mountain torrents.
The country’s flooding event comes at the same time a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre was released stating more than 42 million people world-wide were displaced in 2010 due to natural disasters related to climate change.
Most of the displaced came as a result of flooding and storms, with Asia being the hardest hit region on the planet.