Heavy rains kill 150 in China, force thousands to evacuate

Heavy rains in China trigger massive floods, killing over 100 and forcing thousands to evacuate cities.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An aerial view shows that roads and fields are flooded in Xingtai, Hebei Province, China, July 21, 2016

At least 150 people have been killed while scores are missing as a result of heavy rains that have been battering China for the past few days, forcing thousands to flee from their homes, officials said on Saturday.  

In the northern province of Hebei, the worst hit by the floods triggered by heavy rains, 114 people have died, 111 are missing while 53,000 houses have collapsed, officials said.

In the central province of Henan, 15 people died and eight went missing due to thunderstorms and howling winds which have forced 72,000 people to evacuate their homes. The floods also caused massive destruction and damaged to 18,000 houses.

State media reported that about 8.6 million people have been affected by the flooding so far in all regions.

Chinese residents look at a flooded area caused by heavy rain in Beijing on July 20, 2016 Picture: AFP

Several flights and trains were cancelled while the central bank issued a statement on Friday saying financial support will be provided to the places hit by the floods.

An orange alert, the country’s second highest, was issued on Wednesday by Beijing’s government.

However, angry citizens in Northern China blame the government over failing to respond to the crisis on time. A resident speaking on Hebei Satellite TV said that he was warned only after the water had reached chest-level.

Some residents also claimed that Wednesday’s flood, which struck while villagers were sleeping, was man-made although officials say a levee in a nearby river had broken.

Northern China has dealt with flooding during the summer monsoon season before, but this year’s rain was one of the heaviest. Thus far, more than 200 people have been killed by the summer floods throughout the country.

TRTWorld and agencies