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Saturday, September 30, 2023

After Heatwave, Southwest China on Flood Alert amid Severe Rain

Earlier this month, the country was placed under a national drought emergency

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CHINA: A southwestern part of China that has suffered severe heated conditions this month has now been placed on flood alert amid days of torrential downpour.

Heavy rain recorded in the sprawling manufacturing hub of Chongqing and other nearby areas of Sichuan province follows long durations of power shortages in the same localities caused by heavy use of air conditioning and falling reservoir levels.

Severe climate emergency in China

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The rain started on Sunday and is forecast to continue till Tuesday. At 6 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Sunday, the government launched an emergency flood-prevention effort in Sichuan and Chongqing.

Earlier this month, the country was placed under a national drought emergency.

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Several parts of southern China have witnessed temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) over the past few weeks. It is very well claimed that this heatwave in China since the government began compiling weather information in 1961.

Chongqing, too, has been under dire stress, subjected to almost three weeks of scorching heat without a single drop of precipitation. Moreover, it has been rationing electricity, severely affecting output from factories of major global companies.

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Extreme heat around the Yangtze River Basin has also damaged crops around several cities and localities, in addition to dryness and a severe lack of enough rain. Visuals of scorched, mud-baked lakes, dried-up rivers, and tributaries have done the rounds on social media platforms.

On August 19, 2022, a drought warning was issued for the whole country because it was anticipated that the country’s ongoing heatwave in the southwest would last well into September.

As of August 15, 2022, the current heatwave had lasted 64 days, and 200 monitoring stations had recorded temperatures above 40°C.

The last heatwave, with a long duration of about 62 days, was recorded in 2013. Additionally, Chongqing and Sichuan have also battled forest fires in the past.

Economic experts in the country are concerned about the impact of prolonged drought on the autumn harvest, which accounts for about 75 per cent of China’s total grain output and is only a mere 50 days away. 

The eastern and southwestern regions of the Sichuan Basin and the western and northern regions of Chongqing are predicted to be hit by torrential rain on Monday and Tuesday.

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