President Xi Jinping has warned of “significant loss of life and damage to property” The president ordered all authorities to organize flood relief forces and take care of hygiene and disease control. Last year, floods in the country left more than 200 people dead or missing and caused $25 billion indirect damage. Climate change has caused extreme weather conditions all over the world. Severe heatwaves hit the western countries of the US and Canada. New research suggests that global warming is making India’s monsoon wetter and more dangerous.
- In addition to the victims of the torrential downpour, 12 subway commuters, have been killed in the torrential downpour in China’s central Henan province.
- Zhengzhou recorded 617.1 mm of rainfall from Saturday to Tuesday, nearly equal to the city’s average rainfall (640.8 mm).
- The People’s Liberation Army sent 5,700 soldiers to the city, nearly 650 km southwest of Beijing, for search and rescue operations.
- 1,60,000 people were evacuated.
- Seven individuals have been reported missing, while two people were killed in a wall collapse.
- Several flights have also been canceled as a result of the suspension of sections of railways.
- Libraries, cinemas, and museums have also become shelters for those stranded in the torrential rains, in addition to hospitals and schools.
- According to the South China Morning Post, the heavy rains are due to Typhoon-Fa.
On Wednesday, Xi expressed concern over the “serious loss of life and damage to property.” According to state media, the downpour has exacerbated the flood management situation, with water levels in rivers reaching hazardous levels and dams suffering damage. While some railway sections have been suspended, several aircraft have been canceled.
Numerous dams have been breached as a result of the downpour. Local authorities in Luoyang reported a 20-meter breach in the Yihetan dam and expressed concern that it could fall at any time. Tuesday night, the military detonated the barrier, allowing the floodwaters to drain. The Guojiazui reservoir in Zhengzhou has been breached, but there have been no reports of a dam breakdown thus far.
The president directed that all authorities organized flood relief forces and emphasized the importance of minimizing casualties while also addressing sanitation and disease management to avert epidemics.
What precipitated the severe flooding?
According to the South China Morning Post, the excessive rainfall is being caused by impending Typhoon In-Fa. Typhoons and air currents have carried atmospheric water to Zhengzhou, flanked by the Taihang and Funiu mountains.
China’s floods, on the other hand, are not unprecedented. Each year, the country suffers significant waterlogging, resulting in loss of life and property. However, due to climate change and growing urbanization, the impact has been worse over time as more area is covered in impermeable concrete, the risk of surface flooding increases. Last year, floods in the country killed or went missing over 200 people and inflicted $25 billion in direct damage.
Zhengzhou is located on the banks of the Yellow River, China’s second-largest river, which adds to the difficulty of controlling floods in the area. The government has relied on manufactured dams and reservoirs to minimize flooding, but the barriers cannot store water during periods of high rainfall. Officials have previously expressed concern over the Three Gorges Dam’s strength, the world’s largest hydropower station built on the Yangtze River, as rainfalls have gotten heavier over the years.
According to AFP, the floods “sound an alarm bell for China that climate change is here,” according to Li Shuo, a climate analyst for Greenpeace East Asia. Another scientist, Benjamin Horton, director of Singapore’s Earth Observatory, claimed that it retains more moisture when the Earth’s atmosphere warms, resulting in more terrific downpours.
Is the rest of the globe experiencing climate change’s effects?
Climate change has resulted in the occurrence of extreme weather conditions throughout the planet. The western countries of the United States and Canada have been affected by severe heat waves, resulting in a high death toll. Similarly, Jacobabad, in Pakistan’s Sindh region, had temperatures beyond human tolerance, reaching a life-threatening 52 degrees Celsius.
Germany, too, experienced disastrous floods that claimed at least 196 lives throughout Western Europe. India’s east and west coasts were hit by back-to-back cyclones Tauktae and Yaas. The monsoon, too, arrived early for at least half of the country, grinding to a halt in states such as Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi, which endured terrible heatwaves while waiting for rain. Indeed, new research indicates that global warming is increasing the wetness and hazard of India’s monsoon.