After the drought comes risk of landslides
The mainland's drought-hit Yangtze River basin is expected to see more rainfall in the next 10 days after downpours at the weekend, raising fears of flooding and landslides.
Rain continued to fall yesterday after the worst drought in half a century, causing serious flooding in some regions, the China Meteorological Administration said.
Torrential rainfall hit Hunan, Guizhou and Jiangxi, with maximums of 230mm to 300mm, the administration said. The rain weakened yesterday but will continue in most central and eastern regions along the Yangtze in the next 10 days. Parts of Hunan and Jiangxi may get another 90mm to 150mm.
Flooding has killed 14 people in Guizhou's Wangmo county since the deluge began on Friday, with another 52 missing, state media reported yesterday. Another person is missing in Guizhou's Luodian county.
Some 45,000 Wangmo residents have been evacuated since floodwaters inundated the area on Monday, an official from the county's flood prevention office was quoted as saying. Another 3,000 people are stranded by floodwaters.
Floods have affected more than 1 million people and 38,000 hectares of farmland in Hunan, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
'While [local departments] continue to fight the drought and store water, they should pay special attention to storms that could lead to floods and landslides,' the administration warned.
Downpours have almost relieved the drought in Jiangxi province, and water levels in Guizhou and Hunan, a major rice-growing province, have risen. But the impact of the drought has yet to ease in parts of Anhui, Jiangsu, and Hubei.
'In Hefei's Changfeng [county], where the drought has lingered, many farmers irrigate their fields with water carried by small tractors from rivers many kilometres away,' the Xinan Evening News reported, citing Anhui's provincial flood control and drought relief office.
In Hubei's Jianli county, flood control chief Zhao Xianguo said: 'Water levels in lakes and rivers in our county have generally rebounded. Now we're preparing for floods, which caused a big loss to our agricultural production last year.'
Beijing is to set aside an additional 1.2 billion yuan (HK$1.44 billion) for regions stricken by drought and flood, state television said.