China issues rare red flood alert as Typhoon Doksuri approaches capital

Thousands evacuated from Beijing as city awaits record-breaking rain

Visitors holding umbrellas wait near the closed Forbidden City as a rainstorms soak Beijing on Sunday. AP
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Beijing has issued its first red flood-related alert in 12 years as northern parts of China prepare for a weakening Typhoon Doksuri, which killed more than a dozen people in the Philippines.

China's National Meteorological Centre (NMC) issued a top-tier red alert – the first since 2011 – for rainstorms forecast to reach the capital on Sunday and Monday.

All major tourist attractions and parks are closed, schools have shut and employees have been encouraged to work from home after thousands were evacuated from the city on Saturday.

The typhoon made landfall in south-eastern China on Friday after killing at least 14 in the Philippines, where hundreds of villages were flooded on the country's most populous island, Luzon.

The northern areas of Hebei, Shanxi and Henan are also on red alert.

This “extreme” round of rainfall “could possibly break the historical record,” Beijing News reported on Saturday, citing the chief forecaster of Beijing's Meteorological Observatory.

The downpours have revived memories of Beijing's 2012 floods, the worst in six decades, which killed 79 people.

Doksuri affected 1.46 million people in Fujian, with more than 363,000 having been evacuated, and caused $430 million in economic losses as of Saturday night, state media said.

Social media posts showed emergency workers clearing fallen trees and debris from landslides, while people waded in thigh-high flood waters.

Tropical storm Khanun expected in the Philippines

The typhoon also ravaged Taiwan and the Philippines' main island of Luzon, which is now bracing for its second round as severe tropical storm Khanun intensifies.

It is expected to reach its peak on Tuesday, according to the Philippines weather bureau, before travelling across to the Japanese island of Okinawa and on to eastern China.

The Philippines is affected by an average of 20 tropical cyclones a year, making it one of the world’s worst-hit countries.

Fourteen people were killed and half a million affected by Typhoon Doksuri in the country, which battered the main island of Luzon last week, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

A woman and her three children died after a landslide struck their home in Buguias, while a woman was killed by a falling coconut tree in Isabela province and a teenage boy was crushed to death by a landslide in Baguio.

More than 258 villages were flooded in the Luzon provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, located north of the capital Manila.

At least 23 people were killed when strong gusts caused by the storm capsized a boat on Laguna Lake, also near Manila.

Updated: July 30, 2023, 9:03 AM