Heavy rainstorms continue to pummel southern China after killing 16

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 10:16am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 4:02pm

Torrential rains are expected to continue pouring on southern China after killing at least 16 people in the last week and bringing chaos to air and road travel.

Heavy rain will continue in Guangdong, Guangxi and parts of Taiwan until at least Wednesday, China’s National Meterological Centre said on Monday. Hailstorms could still occur in southern and central parts of Guangdong, it added. 

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Monday morning that at least 16 people were killed and two missing in the first disastrous storms to hit southern China this spring since March 28.

Of the southern provinces that suffered severe flooding, hailstorms and landslides, Guangdong was the worst hit, with seven people killed and two missing, it said. 

Other provinces and regions affected include Guangxi, Guizhou, Chongqing, Fujian, Jiangxi and Hunan. 

On Sunday afternoon, a landslide at a cemetery in the western Guangdong city of Gaoyao killed six people, local media reported. 

More than 200 inbound and outbound flights were cancelled or diverted at Baiyun International Airport in the provincial capital of Guangzhou on Sunday due to rainstorms, and almost a hundred were delayed for more than one hour. The disruption was expected to continue on Monday, airport authorities said. 

In the economic powerhouse of Shenzhen, more than 250 flights were cancelled at the brand-new Baoan terminal of the Shenzhen International Airport on Sunday, as many passengers uploaded pictures and videos of water pouring down from cracks in the roof, causing severe flooding throughout the terminal. The airport said delays were expected to remain on Monday as it put out a red delay alert. 

The Shenzhen municipal government has announced that all schools would be closed on Monday as a red rainstorm alert remained in effect, and recommended employers in the city to give workers a day off or reduced working hours. 

In Hong Kong, hailstones as big as golf balls pounded parts of the city on Sunday night amid thunderstorms, prompting the Observatory to issue the Black Rainstorm warning for the second time since 2010. 

The Amber Rainstorm warning was issued on Monday morning, with more than 30 millimetres of rain falling in just an hour, disrupting rush hour and making journeys to work difficult.