The frequency of extreme weather events, such as torrential rains and violent heatwaves, which have been affecting China for the past several weeks and are expected to continue doing so as global temperatures continue to rise is growing.
As temperatures continue to climb beyond 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), residents in dozens of different places, including the capital city of Beijing, have been advised to remain inside their homes.
And in what has been described as “one of the deadliest natural disasters to occur in China so far this year,” last week’s heavy rains in Chongqing “killed 15 people and left four others missing,” according to local authorities who spoke with AFP.
According to Xinhua, a state-run news agency in China, “the heavy rains, which were mainly seen in the areas along the Yangtze River,” have caused “floods and geological disasters,” which have “disrupted the lives of more than 130,000 people in 19 districts and counties.”
Images from the official broadcaster CCTV that were shared on social media on Tuesday showed torrents of murky water breaching embankments in Chongqing’s Wanzhou District, which was severely damaged by the flooding, and bits of debris being swept away.
And on Wednesday, the Communist Party-affiliated People’s Daily published photographs of ongoing rescue attempts, which showed first responders assisting inhabitants of flooded residential complexes to flee the structures.
CCTV said that workmen found on Tuesday that a closed-off railway bridge had fallen on the outskirts of Chongqing. According to CCTV, the bridge had been “damaged by the impact of mountain torrents.”
Early on Wednesday morning, the government sent a team of workers to Chongqing so that they could monitor the relief efforts being made for the recent natural catastrophe.
There is yet more to come, as officials have issued a warning that China is going to be hit by “multiple natural disasters in July, including floods, severe convection weather, typhoons, and high temperatures”.
Xinhua reported on Wednesday that President Xi Jinping has issued an edict mandating that “authorities at all levels must give top priority to ensuring people’s safety and property,” in reaction to the incident.
catastrophe relief in the amount of 320 million yuan ($44.2 million) has been distributed by the Chinese Ministry of Finance to the regions that have been impacted by the catastrophe. The ministry stated that the funds will be utilized by local governments to enhance emergency search and rescue efforts.
According to a report by Xinhua, the authorities in the neighboring province of Sichuan province have stated that more than 460,000 people have been affected by the severe rain that has occurred this month.
As a direct result of the rain, officials have reported that about 85,000 people have been forced to leave their homes. They have also warned that “flash floods in mountainous areas” and “possible mudslides in some parts” of China are to be expected this week.
Extreme weather events like as the flash floods and heatwaves that have been witnessed in several Asian nations in recent weeks are more likely to occur, according to the findings of scientists who suggest that rising global temperatures, which are mostly driven by the combustion of fossil fuels.
According to a statement released by the National Meteorological Center on Sunday, China’s first half of this year had an average of four days during which temperatures were higher than 35 degrees Fahrenheit per month. This number is the most it has been since the country began keeping statistics in 1961.
According to the state-operated Beijing Evening News, the city of Beijing saw a total of 14 days in the month of June with temperatures that were higher than 35 degrees, tying the record that was established in July of 2000.