Massive river flooding in Guangdong, China, is on the brink of threatening millions of lives, disrupting economic activities and infrastructure in one of the nation’s most populous provinces. According to local government reports, continuous heavy rainfall has swollen rivers beyond their banks, triggering widespread concern among residents and authorities.

In Guangdong, a province home to 127 million people, authorities have evacuated over 82,500 residents to safety. Since April 16, relentless rain has hit the area hard. The Pearl River Delta, known for its dense population and industrial significance, experienced record-breaking rainfall for April, according to four weather stations.

Floodwaters have rendered 11 people missing, with half of them from Jiangwan, a town in the province’s rugged northern territory near Shaoguan. This area also witnessed landslides, injuring six individuals.

Rivers at Breaking Point

The Pearl River and its 44 tributaries are swelling dangerously above safe levels. The Bei River, in particular, faces a dire situation with predictions of a “once in a century” flood that could rise 19 feet above the safety threshold.

Aerial footage showcased villages engulfed in water, leaving only rooftops and tree tops visible. Guangning county in Zhaoqing city saw torrential floods sweeping cars off streets. Similarly, Shaoguan and Qingyuan cities are battling severe floods, with residents navigating through waist-high waters amid strong winds.

Government Response

Responding to the crisis, the government elevated the Pearl River Delta’s flood control emergency response to level 2, the second-highest alert. This move comes as schools shut down and flights in Guangzhou and Shenzhen face cancellations.

The flooding has caused substantial economic damage, destroying over 80 houses and inflicting direct financial losses estimated at around 140 million yuan ($20 million).

This event adds to China’s growing list of severe weather challenges, including increased rainstorms and floods. Scientists attribute these changing patterns to the climate crisis, warning that such extreme weather events are likely to become more common and intense.

The massive river flooding in southern China highlights the urgent need for robust flood management and climate adaptation strategies as the country grapples with the escalating threats of the climate crisis.

Image Source: NBC News