BEIJING – Thirty-three rivers in China have exceeded their maximum levels during the current rainy season which has caused severe floods affecting almost 38 million people in 27 provinces of the country, national authorities reported on Monday.
So far, 141 people have died or disappeared as a result of the summer flooding in eastern and central China, the government said.
Since early June, persistent rain has caused 433 rivers to exceed designated alert levels with 109 of them reported to be above safety limits, Deputy Minister of Water Resources Ye Jianchun told reporters at a press conference in Beijing.
On Sunday, the ministry ramped up flooding alert levels near some of the main rivers in the country like the Yangtze and large lakes including Taihu and Poyang, both in eastern China, as the downpours hit the region.
The Yangtze Basin, which travels through Wuhan, ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic, is one of the most affected areas and has registered its highest average rainfall since 1961.
“The current situation in the Yangtze River and Taihu Lake basins is still discouraging,” said Ye, who added that torrential rains could move further north now.
Deputy minister of emergency management Zheng Guoguang noted that some 29,000 houses have been destroyed in this period and that more than 76,000 citizens have been rescued or evacuated.
Authorities have allocated $165 million in aid for those who have been affected.
Some 47,000 troops have been deployed in the affected areas to collaborate in prevention and rescue efforts.
Since the rains began early last month, direct economic losses have amounted to $12.305 billion.