Thousands displaced by flooding in China's Hunan

Rainfall breaks long hot streak

Locals clean up silt and garbage in aftermath of flooding in Yantouzhai, Hunan on Sunday. EPA
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Heavy flooding has displaced thousands of people around China as the capital had a relative respite from sweltering heat.

The temperature in Beijing had exceeded 35ºC (95ºF) for 9.8 straight days, the National Climate Centre said on Monday.

Such a streak was last recorded in 1961, decades before most of the city's residents had air conditioning, or even fans. A lack of rainfall may be contributing to the heat, with the typically dry capital receiving even less than usual this year.

While temperatures have since moderated — Monday's temperature at midday was 33ºC — they are expected to rise again this week to as high as 39.6ºC in Beijing and other parts of the country, authorities said.

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people were urgently moved to safety due to flooding in the central province of Hunan, the Xiang’xi Emergency Management Bureau announced on Sunday.

Around 70 houses collapsed, 2,283 were damaged and farm fields were flooded. Losses so far have been estimated at least 575 million yuan ($79 million).

To the north in Shaanxi province’s Zhenba county, authorities reported the worst flooding in 50 years had washed out roads and damaged homes.

No deaths have been reported from the floods so far.

The heat this year has been unusual, although China has regular summer flooding. Eleven provinces — around half of China's land area — were expected to received heavy rains in coming days, mainly in the humid south.

In 2021, more than 300 people died in the central province of Henan. Record rainfall inundated the provincial capital of Zhengzhou on July 20 that year, turning streets into rushing rivers and flooding at least part of a subway line.

China’s worst floods in recent history were in 1998, when 4,150 people died, most of them along the Yangtze River.

Updated: July 03, 2023, 12:18 PM