China prepares for a record flooding season
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At least 180 people died or are missing after floods and landslides which have affected large parts of central and eastern China. Water levels have reached record levels in several areas.
The huge Yangtze River flows through Wuhan in Hubei Province *where the corona virus was first reported just before the New Year. ( The river's water levels have now reached the third highest level recorded so far in the city, which is home to several million people.
Floods have historically been a recurring problem in China, often along the Yangtze River. This year, there has been persistent rain since late June and the situation has led to flooding in large areas, affecting over 37 million people. 28,000 homes have so far been destroyed.
33 rivers in the country have reached record high water levels, and warnings have been issued for 433 rivers, the water resource authority said.
The current development is gloomy on the Yangtze and Lake Taishi, says Ye Jianchun at the authority, referring to the the fact the area is entering a traditionally drier period during July and August.
President Xi Jinping calls on local authorities in the affected areas to organize rescue operations and to relocate residents to vulnerable areas.
In video footage in state-controlled media, flooded cities can be seen where water reaches the roof of one-storey buildings and residents are being rescued by inflatable boats. In other footage, homes destroyed by landslides can be seen.
In addition to Hubei, the Jiangxi and Hunan provinces have also been hit hard in central China. The same applies to Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu in the eastern parts of the country and the giant city of Chongqing in southwestern China, the authorities announce.
In 1998, when the worst flooding in recent decades occurred, more than 4,000 people died mainly around the Yangtze River.
Cover Photo Above: Map of the effected river area in China. Illustration by Wikipedia