Landslide kills 8 in Hunan as extreme rainfall in China continues to wreak havoc

Eight people died after a landslide hit their homes in Hunan province on Sunday as extreme rains continue to batter southern China while extending into other parts of the country.

More than 300 rescuers – from local police, emergency, power and health authorities – battled to free the victims, who belonged to two families, after four houses were struck early on Sunday morning, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

An aerial drone photo shows some of the devastation in China’s Hunan province on Sunday. Photo: Xinhua

The eight missing were found on Sunday night and declared dead by medical workers on the scene, according to the report.

Multiple cities in Hunan have been affected by the extreme weather, with the heaviest rainfall recorded at Taoyuan county, which saw 39.5cm (15.6 inches) of rain from Friday to Saturday night.

The Beijing News reported that eight people were swept away in floodwaters on Saturday morning, with seven later rescued, while a total of 4,000 residents were evacuated from Taoyuan where more than 50km (31 miles) of roads were forced to close.

Multiple rivers rose rapidly, with a tributary of the Zi River reaching a record high of 95.68 metres (314ft) on Sunday morning, according to Hunan’s water resources department.

Six flood alerts were issued on Monday morning in the provincial capital Changsha and neighbouring cities, with local water resources bureaus warning that multiple rivers are still on the rise.

Changsha raised its emergency response to level 3, restricting traffic and urging evacuation when necessary.

More rainstorms are expected this week in other provinces as well. On Monday morning, the National Meteorological Centre issued its first red rainfall alert – the highest in a four-tier system – of the year, with warnings for Anhui and Zhejiang in eastern China and Jiangxi in the south.

Multiple regions in these areas are expected to face extreme rainfall from Monday to Tuesday afternoon, at predicted hourly rates of around 2-5cm and even past 7cm (nearly 3 inches) in some areas.

In Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces, local weather departments said floods are expected in local rivers. Patrols have been stationed along the waterways and residents have been cautioned to avoid the danger.

The rains have reached as far north as Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province, where the local government warned that the Naoli River – which passes the city of Shuangyashan – had passed the alert level of 101.2 metres (332ft) on Saturday night and the first flood of the year had formed.

Floods have ravaged the southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in the past few weeks, leaving several dead and countless people homeless.

In Guangxi’s Guilin city, villagers experienced the worst floods since 1998, with many trapped in their homes and a railway station was forced to close.

According to the National Financial Regulatory Administration, insurance institutions in the flood-stricken regions have received 18,400 case reports, with a total reported loss of 619 million yuan (US$85.24 million).

The institutions have sent investigators to more than 10,000 damage sites and paid out 105 million yuan (US$14.5 million) in compensation so far, the administration said.


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