BEIJING – At least 17 people were killed and four are missing after flooding hit the central Chinese province of Hunan and a landslide buried parts of several villages in the southern Guangxi region, state media reported.
Storms have pummeled Hunan since the beginning of the month, with some monitoring stations reporting historic levels of rainfall, the Xinhua News Agency said late Wednesday.
As of late Thursday, 10 people were reported dead and three missing in the floods that have affected around 1.8 million people in the largely rural, mountainous province, Xinhua said. It said 286,000 people have been evacuated to safety and more than 2,700 houses have been damaged or collapsed entirely.
In Guangxi, rescue crews were still looking Thursday for survivors in several villages in the area of Beiliu city, where days of rain left hillsides waterlogged and prone to slippages, Xinhua said. Seven people were confirmed dead in the landslides, one was missing and at least one person was pulled out alive.
Authorities have issued warnings of continued heavy downpours in Guangxi and the nearby provinces of Jiangxi, Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan, Sichuan, Chongqing and Yunnan, Xinhua said.
China regularly experiences flooding during the summer months, most frequently in central and southern areas that tend to receive the most rainfall.
China’s worst floods in recent years were in 1998, when more than 2,000 people died and almost 3 million homes were destroyed, mostly along the Yangtze, China’s mightiest river.
The government has invested heavily in flood control and hydroelectric projects such as the gargantuan Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze.
Globally, more intense tropical storms are on the rise as a result of climate change, leading to increased flooding that threatens human lives, crops and groundwater quality.