At least 10 people lost their lives in a city near Beijing due to devastating floods, with the death toll from recent torrential rains in northern China reaching a staggering 30.
Officials reported the casualties in Baoding, which is approximately 150 kilometers (90 miles) away from Beijing, and also stated that 18 people were still missing.
The cause of this tragedy was Storm Doksuri, a former super typhoon that made landfall in mainland China the previous Friday. The region experienced the most severe rainfall in 140 years, leading to widespread destruction and loss of life.
To mitigate further risk, over 600,000 residents out of Baoding’s 11.5 million population were evacuated from vulnerable areas by noon on Saturday. The storm’s impact was not limited to Baoding; the northeast provinces bordering Russia and North Korea were also hit by torrential rain.
In Beijing, a red alert remained in effect due to “geological risks” such as landslides linked to the adverse weather conditions. Clean-up operations were underway to address the extensive damage to infrastructure and flooded districts.
China has faced a series of extreme weather events in recent months, from record-breaking heatwaves to deadly floods. Just last month, natural disasters resulted in 147 deaths or disappearances in the country, with flooding and geological disasters being the main culprits.
Aerial photographs revealed the extent of the devastation in Zhuozhou, with shopping streets submerged in brown water and surrounding farmland completely underwater. Rescue efforts were underway to assist those trapped in flooded properties, with boats being used to deliver essential supplies.
The global trend of extreme weather events and prolonged heatwaves has affected millions of people worldwide. Scientists attribute these events to the exacerbating effects of climate change, as rising ocean temperatures lead to increasingly severe weather patterns. Ma Jun, the director of a Beijing-based environmental NGO, stressed that China’s recent heatwaves are linked to global warming, a view supported by climate scientists around the world.
In the face of these calamities, authorities are working to provide aid and support to affected communities while also acknowledging the urgent need to address the impact of climate change to prevent further tragedies in the future.