“Dragon boat water” floods hit China early this year and expected to worsen

Since 1st of June, once again the southern parts of China have been battling with floods due to heavy rainfall. This has caused more than 100 people to be forced to evacuate and crops to be destroyed triggering food concerns.

Why Is China Flooding?

Almost every year China experiences floods during the summer season, which result in landslides and the submergence of farmlands and urban areas. These floods are often intensified due to the obstruction of natural drainage systems caused by rapid development and urbanization.

China is accustomed to heavy rainfalls often resulting in floods, but this year more amount of rainfall has been seen and is anticipated to continue. The root cause of this increase in rainfall, consequently increase in flooding, can be stated as climate change.

China is confronted with substantial levels of disaster risk, as indicated by its ranking of 67 out of 191 countries in the 2019 Inform Risk Index. This ranking primarily stems from the high exposure component of risk. The country faces significant exposure to various types of flooding, including riverine, flash, and coastal floods (ranked jointly 13th).

Additionally, China has a very high exposure to tropical cyclones and their associated hazards (ranked 6th). While the exposure to drought is comparatively lower, it remains noteworthy (ranked jointly 55th). The country’s moderate levels of social vulnerability further contribute to elevated disaster risk.

Areas Affected

On Friday, 9th of June, parts of China saw non-stop heavy rainfall pouring down its streets, resulting in flooding.

The city of Beihai in Guangxi experienced an unusually severe onset of summer rains, locally referred to as “dragon boat water,” resulting in a recorded rainfall of 453 millimetres on Thursday. This measurement, confirmed by the China Meteorological Administration, set a regional daily record for the month of June.

Videos shared on social media depicted flooded streets in Beihai, with cars submerged halfway underwater. In a multi-storey building in the city, water could be seen cascading down a staircase as firefighters swiftly worked to rescue the residents.

CCTV reported that ferry services between Beihai and the nearby island of Weizhou will be completely halted from June 10 to June 12 due to anticipated adverse weather conditions. The report stated that the Gulf of Tonkin, located off the coast of South China, will experience strong winds and persistent heavy rain during that period.

On the 1st of June, China’s Sichuan province and Yunnan province experienced heavy rainfall resulting in landslides and flooding. As a consequence of the landslide, 14 people were reported dead and 5 people reported missing in the Sichuan province while 3 people were found dead with 1 missing in the Yunnan province.

Along with the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, Anhui province and Henan province also bore the brunt of heavy rainfalls. The province of Henan, which is known as China’s granary, experienced substantial rainfall recently, leading to the growth of crops or the occurrence of blight. This situation has raised concerns regarding food security in the region.

According to the firefighting department of the province, flood waters submerged villages and towns in the area, resulting in the evacuation of more than 100 individuals.

According to the weather bureau, southern China is expected to continue to experience ongoing heavy rainfall in the days to come. There are also predictions of sudden thunderstorms, which are anticipated to impact the northeast region as well.

The recognition of climate change’s profound influence on disaster management and its potential to jeopardize the welfare of vulnerable communities has become more widespread. Meeting the increasing demands of disaster risk management requires concise, transparent, and dependable information.

The provided information grants valuable understanding regarding the frequency, consequences, and prevalence of natural hazards.

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