The flooding in southern and central China–the affected provinces are marked in blue, above–is now being described as the worst since the 1950s with more than 170 people reported dead since Jun 3 as a result of this summer’s rains and at least 63 missing. Thousand of homes have been destroyed. Two embankments along the Puyang River in Zhejiang were breached following the latest torrential rains, requiring 120,000 people to be evacuated.
In all, rains have caused 555,000 people to be evacuated across 13 provinces. Some 400,000 hectares of farmland have beeb flooded. Disaster relief teams in Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi are treating the situation as a Level 4 disaster, the highest, The torrential rains that have fallen all week show little sign of letting up. State media say economic losses from this week’s rains are 2.85 billion yuan ($2 billion), which is more than the combined direct economic losses that resulted from the two previous rounds of heavy rains.
Meanwhile, more than 200,000 acres of farmland in Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan and Hubei along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze are still drought stricken, with more than 1 million people short of drinking water. There is also prolonged drought in Ningxi in the northwest.