Floodwaters from Typhoon Doksuri continued to deluge farms and cities in northeast China into the weekend, with the country’s disaster relief systems struggling to deal with the aftermath of one of the strongest storms in years.
Almost 15,000 residents were moved out of the city of Shulan in corn-growing Jilin province, where one person was dead and four others missing, according to state media.
Rain has fallen continuously in Shulan since Aug. 1, some areas getting 489mm of rainfall, five times the previous record. Bridges have collapsed and roads were damaged across the city, state media reported.
State news agency China News Service showed images of waterlogged streets around factories and homes in Shulan, a city of more than 700,000.
The record-breaking rains arrived in late July as the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri moved inland, battering northern China and causing massive floods, disrupting the lives of millions.
Around 1.54 million people had been evacuated from at risk areas in north China’s Hebei province as of Saturday morning, Xinhua reported.
In Beijing, city authorities on Saturday warned of sinkholes and mudslides in the Fangshan and Mentougou outer districts of the capital.
Rainfall this past week broke many records in Beijing and northern China, with the vast Haihe river basin hit with its worst flooding since 1963.
Floodwaters could take up to a month to recede in Hebei province, a water resources department official told state media.
On Saturday, water levels in Zhuozhou to the southwest of Beijing began to drop, with search and rescue and flood drainage efforts continuing in Hebei province’s hardest hit city, according to state media.
Around 100,000 people – a sixth of its population – have been evacuated.
On Saturday, water reached warning levels and continued to rise on the Muling river in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, known as the nation’s “great northern granary”, the provincial hydrology office said.
China has long been aware of urban waterlogging risks, with rapid development creating metropolitan sprawls that cover flood plains with concrete. Extreme weather driven by global warming is making it worse.
The impact of typhoons is rare in China’s northeast, with most typhoons moving away west or northwest after making landfall in China, Chinese meteorological experts say.
China’s direct economic losses from natural disasters surged to 41.18 billion yuan ($5.74 billion) in July, more than the total for the previous six months, after two powerful typhoons during the month.
On Saturday authorities of Bazhou city in Hebei expressed “heartfelt thanks” to residents for evacuating their homes in an area where floodwaters had been diverted for storage, and said a review for disaster compensation for damaged agricultural production and housing would take place when the flood recedes.