Eastern China braces for heavy rainfall as Typhoon In-Fa barrels inland

A man walks down a flooded area in Yuyao near the city of Ningbo in Zhejiang, on July 26, 2021. PHOTO: AFP
Waves caused by Typhoon In-Fa surging over a barrier along the seacoast in Qingdao, Shandong, on July 25, 2021. PHOTO: AFP
A worker secures a tree during the heavy winds and rain caused by Typhoon In-Fa in Shanghai, on July 25, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING - Parts of China are bracing for another round of heavy rainfall, with Typhoon In-Fa expected to bring wind and rain deep into the Chinese mainland.

Henan province, which has already been devastated by heavy flooding last week, will face heavy downpours until Thursday (July 29), the provincial meteorological agency said on Monday (July 26).

"The localised heavy rainfall could cause flash floods and landslides," the agency said on Monday morning, as it warned that parts of the province could face as much as 200mm of rain.

The death toll from flooding in Henan, where torrential downpours dumped a year's worth of rain in the province in just three days, has also risen to 69, with five people still missing, provincial authorities said at a Monday briefing.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had said on Monday at a meeting of provincial officials that the central government would deploy several billion yuan from its fiscal reserves to support the disaster stricken areas.

Beijing would also hold officials found to be negligent "seriously accountable", he said.

In-Fa had made landfall on Sunday morning on the Zhoushan archipelago, just off the coast of Zhejiang province.

It then travelled across Hangzhou Bay before making landfall a second time near the city of Jiaxing on Monday morning, with a wind force of 28m per second (or about 101kmph), said the National Meteorological Centre.

Zhejiang province, which is already at the highest Level 1 emergency response level, has evacuated over a million residents, reported state media.

On Chinese social media platforms, videos of water overflowing flood dikes and turning roads into gushing rivers were shared widely.

Madam Wang Meifang, a tea farmer living in Hangzhou, Zhejiang's provincial capital, told The Straits Times that residents were waiting out the typhoon at home.

"It's not so bad because I live in the hills, but in the low-lying areas, the flooding is very severe," said the 67-year-old.

The National Meteorological Centre said in a report that In-Fa had entered Jiangsu province as of Monday afternoon, and would continue to weaken as it headed inland.

But the centre's chief forecaster Gao Shuanzhu also pointed out that over the next four days, parts of Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Anhui provinces and Shanghai will continue to be pounded by rain.

"So these areas will still have to be very careful to take precautions against torrential rains and the potential disasters that these rains can bring," he said.

In Jiangsu province, close to 100,000 people have been evacuated and over 14,000 ships have returned to harbour to seek shelter.

In neighbouring Shanghai, inbound and outbound flights were cancelled on Sunday at the city's two airports. Most flights continued to be cancelled on Monday.

High-speed train services plying the commercial hub, typically regarded as more reliable than air travel, have also been cancelled since Sunday.

People posing for a photo along an empty Bund as most people stay indoors due to wind and rain in Shanghai, on July 25, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

The city has also evacuated over 360,000 people.

Beijing-based Singaporean Lin Huiyi, who is in Shanghai for business, said meetings have been cancelled as the city hunkers down.

The 40-year-old, who runs her own consultancy, said her husband was supposed to travel to Shanghai over the weekend from Chengdu, but had his flight cancelled. He managed to get a seat on a train, but it stopped en-route at Wuhan, where he is currently stranded, because of the weather.

"Basically there are no trains going in and out of Shanghai," she said.

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