China – Thousands Evacuate Floods in Shanxi

Floods in Shanxi province in northern China have forced more than 120,000 people from their homes.

Local media reported 5 people died on 05 October 2021 after continuous rainstorms battered Shanxi Province. Since then floods and landslides have been reported in 76 districts and cities. China’s state news agency Xinhua reported 17,000 homes severely damaged or destroyed. A total of 1.76 million people have been affected, as of 10 October. Emergency management departments have distributed relief supplies including tents, bedding and clothing.

The heavy rain has also caused severe damage to crops and infrastructure. Local emergency management reported around 190,000 hectares of crops have been damaged. A section railway track was washed away by floodwaters in Qixian county on 07 October.

Shanxi is a major coal producing province. The local government said it has suspended output at 60 coal mines due to the severe weather conditions. This comes at a time China is facing an energy shortage which has caused power cuts.

Unusually heavy rain has been falling in this relatively dry region from 02 to 07 October. Media, quoting the provincial meteorological bureau, said over 60 weather stations in the province reported record high accumulated precipitation figures for this period, with some area seeing 3 times the normal average rainfall. Levels of rivers have increased, including the Yellow River, China’s second-longest river. A dyke breach along the Fenhe River, a tributary of the Yellow River, caused severe flooding in Yuncheng.

Earlier this month around 50,000 people were displaced by floods in neighbouring Shaanxi Province from 02 October, mostly in areas around Hanzhong City.

China’s Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) recently released figures for natural disasters in the first three quarters of 2021.

MEM said a total of 94.94 million people were affected by various natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods and typhoons. A total of 792 people were dead or missing; 5.262 million people were displaced; 157,000 houses destroyed and 1.751 million damaged. Massive floods hit Henan Province after 600mm of rain in 24 hours on 20 July 2021. By early August more than 300 fatalities had been reported.