Deadly flash floods and record heat wave in China

Tourists swept away by torrent through mountain gorge in Chengdu amid national heatwave

A sprinkler irrigates a corn field to mitigate the impact of drought in Xiliangshi village in China's Henan province. Reuters
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Flash floods killed at least seven people at a mountainous tourist site in China, rescue services said on Sunday.

Weather warnings had been issued in the scenic area of Pengzhou, about 75 kilometres from Chengdu in Sichuan province.

But within 50 minutes of the warning being issued, torrents of water inundated a gorge, leaving tourists seconds to escape.

In videos posted on social media, people could be seen scrambling to flee, but some were caught by a torrent that killed seven people and injured a number of others. Children were among those washed away by the flash flood, said China National Radio, but authorities did not disclose whether any children were among the dead.

A video showed a helicopter rescuing a person stranded on a small outcropping by descending to just above the water and opening a door so they could climb in.

Elsewhere in China, heavy rain flooded streets in the northwestern city of Xining on Saturday night. Heavy to torrential rain was forecast for the north-east of the country from Sunday to Monday afternoon, with 100 to 180 millimetres of rainfall expected in parts of Liaoning and Jilin provinces.

A heatwave in southern China led to forecast highs on Sunday of 35°C to more than 40°C in places including Shanghai.

Jiangsu province issued a warning that road surface temperatures could rise to 72°C, increasing the risk of punctures, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Crop yields in agricultural regions including Jiangsu and Hunan, one of the country’s major rice producing provinces, have been hit by the prolonged dry weather.

According to China’s Ministry of Water Resources, water levels of the Yangtze River are at historic lows, the state-linked Global Times reported.

Updated: August 14, 2022, 7:16 AM
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