BEIJING: At least nine people have been killed and three others missing after days of torrential rains lashed several regions of southern China, affecting millions of people.
The rain started last week in Chongqing, Fujian, Guangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi regions and continued through yesterday, according to the National Meteorological Center (NMC).
In Hunan, two people died – one in a lightning strike – and a total of 6,555 people have been relocated. The rains have led to floods, power cuts and landslides.
In Hubei, rain, hail and gales left one dead and two missing. Direct economic losses are estimated at about 45 million yuan (USD 7 million).
In Jiangxi, heavy rain has led to three deaths and the relocation of 14,000 residents.
About 500 houses were destroyed by the rain and direct economic losses are estimated at 740 million yuan (USD 113.5 million).
In Guangxi, one person died and another is missing after heavy rain battered seven cities. A total of 12,200 people were relocated.
The rain damaged over 1,000 houses and causes direct economic losses estimated at 278 million yuan (USD 42.6 million).
Rivers in the affected provinces are swollen and flood warnings have been issued.
The NMC yesterday warned people in the northwest and south of the country to be alert to the possibility of mountain torrents, mud-rock flows and landslides as rain continues to lash these regions.
Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Fujian, Guangdong provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region will see up to 150 mm of precipitation from yesterday to today, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Meanwhile, heavy rain is expected in the northwestern part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to the forecasts.
The NMC issued a yellow alert on Sunday afternoon for rainstorms in south and southeast China and the alert was renewed on Monday.
China has a four-tier colour-coded warning system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.