Floods in southern China force tens of thousands to evacuate

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BEIJING — Major flooding has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in southern China, and more rain is expected.

The Guangdong manufacturing hub suspended classes, office work and public transportation amid rising waters and the threat of landslides.

In neighboring Jiangxi province, nearly 500,000 people have seen their homes damaged and their lives uprooted.

Roughly the same number have been affected in Guangdong, mainly in the cities of Shaoguan, Heyuan and Meizhou.

Heavy rains have collapsed roads in some parts of cities and washed away houses, cars and crops, and more rain is forecast for the next few days. Chinese authorities on Sunday issued the first red alert of the year, the most severe warning, for possible mountain torrents.

In Zhejiang province, a little further north, rescue teams in inflatable boats pulled out residents trapped in their homes in flooded villages.

China regularly experiences flooding during the summer months, most often in the central and southern areas that tend to receive the most rainfall. This year’s flooding is the worst in decades in some areas and adds to strict COVID-19 regulations that have strangled travel, employment and daily life in much of the country.

China’s worst floods in recent years occurred in 1998, when more than 2,000 people died and almost 3 million homes were destroyed, mainly along the Yangtze, China’s largest river.

The government has invested heavily in hydroelectric and flood control projects, such as the massive Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze.

Globally, more intense tropical storms are increasing as a result of climate change, leading to increased flooding that threatens lives, crops, and groundwater.

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