SOUTHERN CHINA HAS been seeing its heaviest summer rains for 60 years, bringing floods, widespread destruction of crops and more disruption to supply chains.
Hundreds of thousands of Guangdong and Guangxi residents living around the Pearl River delta have been evacuated after a week of persistently high rains. State media have aired footage of people being rescued with ropes and rubber dinghies, and cars floating down streets. Several cities in Guangdong have raised their flood alerts to the highest level.
The rain has disrupted manufacturing and shipping, already suffering under strict anti-Covid measures. Particularly in the more mountainous north of the province, where the flooding is most severe and landslides have happened, businesses were ordered to close temporarily, and public transport was suspended as rising waters approached dangerous levels. The direct economic loss so far is estimated at more than 1.7 billion yuan ($250 million).
To the north of Guangdong, Jiangxi province has also raised its flood warnings. Officials report direct economic losses already reaching 470 million yuan, with 43,300 hectares of crops inundated.
In neighbouring Hunan province, 21,607 hectares have been damaged, and there are reports of landslides and building collapses.
China’s National Meteorological Center warned that downpours could continue for another week, although the heaviest rains are expected to move northwards across central China from mid-week.
In recent years, climate change has made the south wetter and the north hotter and drier.