Floods in China kill hundreds, wipe out crops worth billions

World Today

A stadium is flooded after heavy rainfall in Ezhou, Hubei Province, China, July 2, 2016. Picture taken July 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

Severe flooding across central and southern China over the past week has killed more than 170 people, damaged more than 1.9 million hectares (4.7 million acres) of crops, and led to direct economic losses of more than 38 billion yuan ($5.70 billion), according to the Chinese officials.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang traveled on Tuesday to Anhui, one of the hardest-hit provinces, where he met residents and encouraged officials to do everything they could to protect themselves. Li was also expected to visit Hunan province.

More than 1.3 million people have been forced out of their homes.

Weather forecasts predicted more downpours during what is traditionally China’s flood season.

More than 40,000 buildings have also collapsed, Xinhua said.

It was not clear how that would affect the summer grain harvest, which was expected to reach 140 million tonnes this year.

The stormy weather also took a toll on farm animals.

In Anhui, the flooding killed some 7,100 hogs, 215 bulls and 5.14 million fowl, Xinhua reported.

In the southern province of Hunan, torrential rain and flooding forced more than 100 trains to stop or take detours since midnight on Sunday, Xinhua said.

In one city, about 3 tonnes of gasoline and diesel leaked from a petrol station on Monday, contaminating floodwater that flowed into a river.

Water in 43 rivers in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River had exceeded warning levels and patrols were monitoring dykes, Chen Guiya, an official with the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission, told Xinhua.

Story by Reuters and Xinhua.