Floods in China leave at least 12 dead, with thousands evacuated | China

Flash flooding in southwest and northwest China has killed at least a dozen and endangered thousands of others, state media reported.

At least six people have died and another 12 are missing in southwestern Sichuan province after torrential rains sparked flash floods, state news agency CGTN reported Sunday.

About 1,300 people had been evacuated on Saturday, the report said.

Meanwhile, in the city of Longnan in northwestern Gansu province, another six deaths were reported and 3,000 people had been evacuated, state broadcaster CCTV said. Rainfall for 1½ days was a whopping 98.9mm in the worst affected areas, almost double the July average.

The rain is falling amid a heat wave in parts of the country, including eastern Zhejiang province and the city of Shanghai, with temperatures soaring to 42C (107.6F) last week.

Heat waves are expected to return in many parts of China this week and last until late August, the state’s weather forecaster said. After July 20, temperatures of 39C to 42C (102.2F-107.6°F) are expected in the southern region, including Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.

The blistering heat will last an “extended period” of 40 days, up from the usual 30, the forecaster said on its website.

Experts say such extreme weather events are becoming more likely because of climate change. Warmer air can store more water, leading to larger cloudbursts when released.

The floods are adding to the economic woes caused in part by strict zero-covid measures that restrict travel and disrupt supply chains.

A vehicle next to part of a bridge washed away by floodwaters in Qingyang, northwestern China
A vehicle next to part of a bridge was washed away on Saturday by flooding on a river in Qingyang, northwestern China’s Gansu province. Photo: AP

China is not the only country with extreme weather. Firefighters in Portugal, Spain, France, Greece and Morocco are fighting wildfires that rage across tens of thousands of hectares, as this week’s heat wave has brought extreme temperatures and killed hundreds in southwestern Europe.

The second heat wave of the summer – with temperatures reaching 47C (116F) in Portugal and 45C in Spain – has sparked wildfires that have forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

The UK’s first-ever red warning of exceptional heat has gone into effect, with temperatures expected to rise to 41C (105.8F) over the next two days, breaking the country’s heat records.

In Germany, low water levels in the Rhine due to drought have disrupted the supply chain for raw materials to the country. Heat waves have also hit the southern US.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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