Torrential rain in areas around China’s capital, Beijing, has caused widespread devastation, resulting in the loss of at least 20 lives and leaving 27 people missing. The severity of the flooding has caught the city off guard, as Beijing typically experiences dry summers. However, this year saw a record-breaking heatwave, followed by unexpected heavy rains.
In response to the crisis, thousands of residents have been evacuated to shelters located in schools and other public buildings. The neighboring cities of Tianjin and Zhuozhou have also been affected by the deluge.
The flooding has caused significant damage, including the destruction of roads, uprooted trees, and power outages. In the Mentougou district on Beijing's western edge, muddy water surged through the streets, sweeping away parked cars within minutes.
Residents have expressed their shock and disbelief at the extreme weather event. "Neither officials nor ordinary people expected the rain to be so heavy," said one resident, Wu Changpo. "There were a lot of landslides and flooded villages. I cried repeatedly seeing these reports."
To ensure safety and assist with recovery efforts, emergency workers have been utilizing bulldozers to clear the streets while residents bravely wade through the muddy aftermath.
The impact of this flooding is not an isolated occurrence. Other regions in China, particularly in the south, have also faced unusually severe summer flooding, resulting in numerous fatalities. Meanwhile, parts of the country are grappling with drought conditions.
The consequences of this unexpected rain have extended beyond the loss of life and property damage. As reported by Phoenix TV, approximately 60,000 homes in Beijing's Fangshan district have been left without power.
Flooding Devastates China's Northern Provinces
In the wake of heavy rainfall, parts of northern China have been hit hard by severe flooding. The government has taken urgent action to rescue those affected and reduce further damage to life and property.
Evacuations and Shelters
Reports indicate that in Zhuozhou, located southwest of Beijing, approximately 125,000 individuals from high-risk areas have been relocated to shelters. Similarly, in Tianjin, an eastern port city, a total of 35,000 people have been evacuated from areas near the swollen Yongding River.
As the weather agency in Hebei province explains, certain regions have experienced up to 20 inches of rain since Saturday. In some areas, rainfall has reached an alarming rate of 3 1/2 inches per hour. This unprecedented amount of precipitation has resulted in the flooding of multiple rivers in the Haihe Basin, which encompasses Beijing, Tianjin, and Shijiazhuang.
The situation remains precarious as 13 rivers in the Haihe Basin have surpassed their warning levels, posing a significant risk to nearby communities. In response, emergency officials have evacuated approximately 42,000 people from Shanxi province to the west of Hebei.
Previous Flood Incidents
This recent series of floods follows other notable incidents earlier this year. In July, heavy rainfall in Chongqing claimed the lives of at least 15 people, while in Liaoning province, nearly 5,590 individuals had to be evacuated. Additionally, residents in Hubei province faced severe rainstorms that left them stranded in their vehicles and homes.
China has a history of grappling with devastating floods. The most catastrophic event occurred in 1998 along the Yangtze River, claiming the lives of 4,150 individuals. More recently, in 2021, the central province of Henan experienced record-breaking rainfall, resulting in the deaths of over 300 people. The provincial capital, Zhengzhou, witnessed streets transformed into rushing rivers and even a section of its subway line submerged.
As the nation copes with the immediate aftermath of these floods, swift and effective measures are being taken to alleviate the impact on affected regions and ensure the safety of the population.