Southwestern China, including the metropolis of Chongqing, has been subjected to torrential downpours and devastating floods, resulting in the loss of 15 lives and leaving 4 individuals missing, according to local officials and state media. These catastrophic weather conditions are part of a string of extreme events that have plagued China in recent weeks, ranging from heavy rains to scorching heatwaves, reflecting the escalating impact of global temperature rise.
In Chongqing alone, heavy rains have led to the tragic loss of lives and significant disruptions to the lives of over 130,000 individuals across 19 districts and counties. The areas along the Yangtze River have been particularly affected, experiencing floods and geological disasters triggered by the relentless rainfall. Images shared on social media depict the horrifying scenes of muddy torrents overflowing embankments in Chongqing’s Wanzhou District, with debris being swept away.
Emergency responders have been working tirelessly to rescue and evacuate affected residents. The state-backed People’s Daily has published photographs showcasing these ongoing rescue efforts, revealing the determination and dedication of those involved. In addition to the immediate dangers, infrastructure has also suffered severe damage. On the outskirts of Chongqing, workers discovered a collapsed railway bridge that had succumbed to the force of mountain torrents.
The Chinese government has swiftly responded to the crisis by dispatching a working group to Chongqing to oversee disaster relief efforts. President Xi Jinping has issued a directive emphasizing the top priority of ensuring the safety and protection of people and their property. The National Meteorological Center warns that China can anticipate a series of natural disasters throughout July, including floods, severe convection weather, typhoons, and high temperatures.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Chinese finance ministry has allocated 320 million yuan ($44.2 million) in disaster relief to the affected regions. This financial support will be utilized by local governments to bolster emergency search and rescue operations. Neighboring Sichuan province has also suffered extensively from the heavy rains, with over 460,000 people affected and tens of thousands evacuated from their homes. Authorities anticipate flash floods in mountainous areas and potential mudslides in various parts of the country this week.
As climate scientists emphasize, rising global temperatures, primarily attributed to the burning of fossil fuels, contribute significantly to the occurrence of extreme weather events like flash floods and heatwaves. China, too, has witnessed the consequences of this warming trend, recording the highest number of days with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius since national records began in 1961. June alone witnessed 14 scorching days in Beijing, matching the previous record set in July 2000.
Amidst the devastation and uncertainty, the resilience and determination of the Chinese people shine through. The nation remains committed to protecting its citizens, providing relief, and mitigating the impacts of these destructive natural disasters.
- Torrential rain in Chongqing and southwestern China claims 15 lives and leaves 4 missing, causing widespread disruption to over 130,000 people.
- Severe weather conditions, including heavy rains and intense heatwaves, continue to afflict China, with rising global temperatures exacerbating the frequency of extreme events.
- President Xi Jinping emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the safety and well-being of citizens, as authorities brace for more natural disasters in July.