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Thousands evacuated as floods and deadly landslides hit southeast China

Thousands of people have been evacuated in southeast China after heavy rains hammered the region over the weekend, triggering floods and deadly landslides, authorities and state media said Monday.

According to state-run broadcaster CCTV, over 35,000 people were evacuated as of Saturday. As of Monday morning, more than 10,000 people were evacuated in Meizhou, the hardest flood-hit city in Guangdong province.

Seventeen waterways in the major Han River basin “recorded flooding above alert level,” including two rivers at record flood levels, according to the Ministry of Water Resources on Monday.

Guangdong province, an economic powerhouse home to 127 million people, is among parts of southern China that are subject to annual flooding from April to September. But the region has faced more intense rainstorms and severe floods in recent years as scientists warn that the climate crisis will amplify extreme weather, making it deadlier and more frequent.

Those warnings were underscored in April, when deadly floods submerged parts of Guangdong after rain poured for multiple days.

On Monday, heavy rains wrought further devastation, with social media videos from the city of Meizhou, eastern Guangdong, showing river water almost overflowing as it lapped at bridges and partially submerged vehicles.

More than 130,000 households in the city and suburbs were without power as of Monday morning, while classes were suspended, CCTV reported.

“Authorities are still trying to reach some towns and villages” in the area, CCTV said.

Further upstream along the Han River, a flood alert was issued in Fujian province due to heavy rainfall, according to its provincial alert center. Four people were killed in a series of landslides in the coastal province, CCTV reported Monday.

Social media footage from Fujian, home to 40 million people, showed flood water rushing through the streets of towns and villages,

Shanghang county in southwest Fujian recorded record rainfall of 375 millimeters (nearly 15 inches) in the past 24 hours, which represents 18% of its average annual rainfall, the province’s meteorological service said in a statement Monday.

China has been grappling with extreme weather this month as heavy rains inundate the south while severe drought and record temperatures scorch the north.

Other parts of China are also facing earlier and longer extreme heat periods and droughts each year, causing widespread power shortages and disruptions on food and industrial supply chains.

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