Extreme weather hits China with massive floods and scorching heat

HONG KONG. China is grappling with extreme weather events across the country, with the worst flooding in decades causing houses and cars to flood in the south, and record-breaking heatwaves in northern and central provinces that have warped roads.

Water levels in more than a hundred rivers across the country have exceeded flood warning levels. People’s Daily, mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party. Authorities in Guangdong on Tuesday raised the warning level to its highest level after days of rain and flooding, shutting down schools, businesses and public transportation in the affected areas.

The flood has disrupted the lives of nearly half a million people in southern China. State media footage shows lifeguards rowing boats through swampy roads to rescue trapped residents. In Shaoguang, the manufacturing center, factories were ordered to stop productionas water levels reached a 50-year high, state television reported.

The Guangdong Provincial Emergency Administration said the rainstorms affected 479,600 people, destroyed nearly 30 hectares of crops and caused more than 1,700 houses to collapse, with financial losses totaling $261 million, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

China has battled summer floods for centuries, according to the Central Meteorological Observatory, but this year’s floods also coincided with heat waves hitting the northern part of the country, where heavy rain is also expected in the coming days.

Temperatures peaked at 104 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday in nine northern and central provinces. In Henan province, surface temperatures reaching 165 degrees Fahrenheit caused cracks in cement roads last week that resemble the aftermath of an earthquake, according to local media reports.

Scorching heat in some of China’s most populous provinces has boosted demand for air conditioners, driving record electricity consumption. In Shandong, a province in northeast China with a population of 100 million, peak electricity demand hit a record 92.94 million kilowatts on Tuesday, surpassing the 2020 high of 90.22 million kilowatts, state television reported.

Prime Minister Li Keqiang said during a visit to a thermal power company on Tuesday that the country should increase its coal mining capacity to prevent power outages.

Floods and heat waves in China this year have extended over several days and weeks, as they did last year, with weeks of flooding killing hundreds of people, causing power outages and displacing millions in central and southwestern China , including in Zhengzhou, where flood waters are trapped. passengers on the subway.

Bilateral weather emergency faced by China reflects global trend Increasingly frequent and prolonged episodes of extreme weather events caused by climate change.

In recent decades, China has transformed farmlands into cities, lifting millions of rural people out of poverty. But in its pursuit of economic development, it has also become the world’s largest polluter, with greenhouse gas emissions exceeding those of all developed countries combined.

Since then, Xi Jinping has become the first country leader to pledge to address climate change as a national priority. Last July, China introduced a carbon market to cap emissions and has almost quintupled green space in its cities over the past two decades.

But significant environmental damage has already been done. The destruction and destruction caused by greenhouse gas emissions is likely to continue in the coming years.

@Zixu Wang in Hong Kong and Lee Yu made a report in Shanghai.

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