Floods in south China claim 22 lives: Xinhua
Severe floods have claimed the lives of at least 22 people and left 20 others missing over the past three days in southern China, media reports say.
Heavy flooding accompanied by summer rainstorms have also displaced a total of 197,000 people and affected 3.7 million others since Saturday in seven southern provinces in the country, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.
Xinhua added that storms had pushed water levels in rivers to dangerous levels, leading to crop damage, the collapse of 10,500 houses, and economic losses amounting to nearly 2.7 billion yuan ($410 million).
According to the news agency, eight people are trapped in a flooded coal mine in southwest Guizhou province.
Torrential rain is forecast to continue in south China over the next three days.
This comes after Xinhua reported last Friday that three days of heavy rain had killed 14 people.
Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang called on local authorities and related departments to take precautions, intensify efforts and formulate emergency programs in order to prevent flood and mitigate loss from possible upcoming disasters.
Wang also stressed the importance of avoiding mass casualties and ensuring water supply safety.
Flooding is common in China in the summer rainy season. The country’s worst flooding in recent history happened in 1998, when at least 4,150 people lost their lives, most of them along the Yangtze River.
Chinese officials had issued a warning about the potential for the high record of floods this year due to a strong El Nino weather pattern, which raises sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific and is linked to serious crop damage, forest fires, flash floods and drought around the world.