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Seven killed in SW China floods as Beijing triples rain death toll

Flood kills 7 in China's Sichuan province: state media
Source: Video Screenshot

Seven people were killed in flash floods in southwestern China on Wednesday, as authorities in Beijing tripled the death toll from the capital’s heaviest-ever rains.

China has been hit by record downpours in recent weeks, damaging infrastructure and deluging swaths of Beijing’s suburbs and surrounding areas.

And in southwestern Sichuan province, flash flooding Wednesday killed seven people on Wednesday, state media reported.

The victims, who were reportedly taking pictures when the torrent struck, were tourists visiting a popular site.

In Beijing, authorities said 33 had died, including two rescue workers, in the recent bad weather in the capital, mainly by flooding and buildings collapsing — three times the figure given by officials on Tuesday last week.

“I would like to express my deep condolences to those who died in the line of duty and the unfortunate victims,” Xia Linmao, Beijing’s vice-mayor, told a news conference, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Scores have died in the floods across northern China, with Beijing officials saying on Friday 147 deaths or disappearances last month were caused by natural disasters.

Of those, 142 were caused by flooding or geological disasters, China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said.

Millions of people have been hit by extreme weather events and prolonged heatwaves around the globe in recent weeks, events that scientists say are being exacerbated by climate change.

Sichuan torrent

Extreme weather has also struck in other parts of the country, with CCTV saying “local public security, fire and other departments are continuing to carry out search and rescue efforts” after the seven people were drowned in Sichuan’s Longxi River.

The flash flood occurred at about 10 am near an embankment southwest of the provincial capital of Chengdu, where “more than 10” people were swept away by an unexpected tide of water, state media said.

Video shared by CCTV showed several people struggling to keep their heads above water as a powerful torrent pushed them downstream and bystanders shouted from the water’s edge.

The cause of the deluge was not immediately clear.

Meteorological authorities in the nearby city of Qionglai issued a yellow warning for rain at 10:40 am on Wednesday, anticipating possible precipitation of “more than 50 mm” over the next six hours in certain parts of the administrative district.

‘We might have drowned’

Fifteen people were reported to have died in Hebei province, which neighbours Beijing, and 22 were missing on Saturday.

An AFP team in Hebei’s Zhuozhou saw residents and workers clearing up debris and fixing damaged property on Wednesday, more than a week after rain started pummelling the region.

“With my car that was washed away, the merchandise from my company and everything else, we’ve lost around a million yuan ($140,000),” said a female villager who declined to give her name.

“Our little house isn’t very high, so it’s a good thing we realised the water was rising, otherwise we might have drowned,” she said, adding she was waiting to hear about compensation.

Fourteen died and one person was reported missing in northeastern Jilinon Sunday.

Further north in Heilongjiang, state media reported dozens of rivers had water levels rise above “warning markers” in recent days.

“I still feel scared when I recall the recent flooding,” Zheng Xiaokang, a police officer from the province’s Jiangxi village, told the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

“In the face of the persistent downpour and rising river water, the consequences would have been devastating had we not managed to timely evacuate the villagers,” Zheng said.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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