Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province say at least 12 people have died and 10 are missing following heavy rains, adding to a grow toll from summer flooding across the country.
Sichuan’s Mianning County was battered by storms on Friday and Saturday, with flooding especially bad in Yihai Township, the county government reported. Two vehicles plunged into a river along a flood-damaged highway, and 7,705 people were evacuated in the area.
According to Press TV, the area lies on a plain at the foot of steep hills that eventually rise to the Tibetan Plateau, the source of China’s major rivers.
Nationally, flooding since the start of June has left 78 people dead or missing, destroyed or damaged more than 100,000 homes and caused direct economic losses estimated at more than 25 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), the Ministry of Emergency Management said on Sunday.
Seasonal flooding hits much of China each year, and authorities have sought to mitigate the damage through the use of dams, particularly the massive Three Gorges structure on the Yangtze.
China’s worst floods in recent years were in 1998, when more than 2,000 people died and almost 3 million homes were destroyed.
China on blue alert as rainstorms continue to wreak havoc
China’s national observatory on Monday issued a blue alert for rainstorms as heavy downpours continue to wreak havoc in vast stretches of the country.
From Monday morning to Tuesday morning, heavy rain and rainstorms are expected in the provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Hebei and Shandong, the National Meteorological Center said.
Some of these regions will see up to 70 mm of hourly precipitation accompanied by thunderstorms and strong winds, the center said.
The center advised local authorities to remain alert for possible flooding, landslides and mudslides and recommended halting outdoor operations in hazardous areas.
China has a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
Since June, continuous downpours have lashed large parts of southern China and the waters of many rivers in the affected regions exceeded warning levels.
China on Sunday activated a level-IV emergency response, the lowest in the country’s four-tier warning system, after rainstorms triggered floods in central and southwestern regions of the country