Thousands in China evacuated as heavy rainfall and flooding hit Shanxi and Shaanxi

A flooded area after heavy rainfalls in Jiexiu, China's northern Shanxi province, on Oct 10, 2021. PHOTO: AFP
Villagers clear floodwaters near residential houses following heavy rainfall in Yitang county, Jiexiu, China's northern Shanxi province, on Oct 10, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS
Rescuers drawing water at a flooded area after heavy rainfalls in Jinzhong city, Jiexiu, China's northern Shanxi province, on Oct 10, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Chinese authorities have issued a level four emergency response as heavy flooding hit the provinces of Shanxi and Shaanxi.

The China National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Emergency Management have sent a working team to the affected areas to help with disaster relief.

China has a four-tier flood control emergency response system, with level one being the most severe.

More than 1.75 million people in 76 counties in the northern province of Shanxi were affected by the floods, with 120,100 having been evacuated, the provincial emergency management department said on Sunday (Oct 10).

More than 17,000 houses collapsed and 190,000ha of farmland were damaged by the flooding, it said.

Meanwhile, 60 coal mines suspended operations after heavy rain lashed the coal-rich province, local authorities said last Friday.

Recent rainfall across large parts of the province has led to rising water levels and flooding in multiple rivers, the provincial emergency management department said.

Operations at 372 non-coal mines, 14 hazardous-chemical enterprises, more than 1,000 construction projects and 166 scenic spots have also been suspended.

The province has allocated 20 million yuan (S$4.2 million) for disaster relief work for people severely impacted by flooding.

An expert from the China Meteorological Administration said on Saturday that the heavy rain in Shanxi lasted from Oct 2 to last Wednesday, and was accompanied by thunderstorms and a significant drop in temperature.

The average rainfall in Shanxi for the month of October is 31.1mm, but from 8pm on Oct 2 to 8am last Thursday, it saw precipitation averaging 119.5mm. Eighteen counties in the province had more than 200mm of rain during the period, with a maximum recording of 285.2mm, the expert said.

Fifty-nine national meteorological observatories in the province recorded their highest daily rainfall, while 63 observatories reported their highest accumulative rainfall over the period, the expert added.

Rescuers evacuating residents in a flooded area after heavy rainfalls in Jiexiu, China's northern Shanxi province, on Oct 10, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

The Hejin section of Fenhe River in Hejin city, south-western Shanxi, has faced the largest flood in 57 years due to recent continuous rainfall and more water flowing down from its upper reaches, Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

The Fenhe is a major tributary of the Yellow River, and with the water flow in the Fenhe reaching 900 cubic m per second - more than 20 times the usual rate - local authorities have diverted the water to an area at a local village covering almost 6,700ha. It will ultimately flow into the Yellow River.

All the people living in the area have been evacuated, and there have been no reports of casualties, the report said.

Separately, in Dali county of the north-western province of Shaanxi, floods resulting from continuous recent rain had inundated 32,700ha of farmland.

About 239,000 people were affected, with many roads, water projects and power infrastructure facilities damaged, county authorities said on Saturday. More than 18,000 people were evacuated.

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