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Climate Change

Houses floating away in flash flood in China; 10,000 people missing in Libya floods

September 12, 2023 4:52 PM IST

climate change | Flood | Flood in China | flash flood | climate catastrophe | Libya flood

After days of relentless rain, China now faces challenge from its aftermath – floods and landslide, that has left the citizens in distress.

According to state media, rain from the remnants of former Typhoon Haikui caused more than 100 landslides, trapped about 1,360 residents in floodwaters and killed at least seven people in China’s south.

Typhoon Haikui hit southern China eight days ago and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, but unrelenting rain continues to deluge southwestern Guangxi. Neighbouring Hong Kong was also jolted by the worst storm in 140 years.

Incessant storms in the last three days in most areas of Yulin city caused 115 landslides that destroyed roads, uprooting trees, inducing floods and leading authorities to issue a warning of emergencies on national and provincial trunk highways, state media said.

Several places in China are now caught in the flood. In China’s Xian, the authorities have issued high-level rainstorm warning as as severe floods expose unplanned urbanisation. Houses are floating away in flash flood due to heavy rain. Meanwhile, Shanghai, too is facing massive floods due to extreme rains, washing away roads, infrastructure and people.

The city’s observatory raised its storm warning to the highest in a four-tier alert system after more than 101mm (4 inches) rain poured in a three-hour period on Tuesday morning, and flagged risks of flash floods, geological disasters and waterlogging in urban and rural areas.

According to scientists, the typhoons hitting China are becoming more intense and their paths are growing more complex. This is increasing the risk of disaster, even in coastal cities such as Shenzhen that already have strong flood defence capabilities.

China Meteorological Administration has forecasted heavy rains in the south and southeast parts of Guangxi on Tuesday and Wednesday, with storms in the southwest. Localised hourly precipitation could hit 70mm (2.76 inches) in some areas, it said.

The national forecaster has also warned relevant departments and people in Guangdong and Guangxi to be alert to any delayed effects of disasters from frequent rainfall in recent days.

Flood in Libya

Around 10,000 people are thought to be missing following major floods in Libya, an official from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Tuesday.

“We can confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 so far,” Tamer Ramadan, the head of the IFRC delegation in Libya, told reporters.

Around a quarter of Libya’s eastern city of Derna was wiped out by floods after dams burst in a storm, and more than 1,000 bodies have been recovered so far, a minister in the administration that controls the east said on Tuesday.

Ramadan said that the death toll is huge and might reach thousands. The IFRC could soon launch an appeal for emergency funding to support Libya’s flood victims, he further added.

“The challenges are ranging between access to basic health facilities for health services, shelter and shelter management, food and non-food items,” Ramadan said.

(Input from Reuters)

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