At Least 16 Dead, 18 Missing in Flash Flood in Western China

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
August 18, 2022 Updated: August 18, 2022

BEIJING—A sudden rainstorm in western China triggered a landslide that diverted a river and caused flash flooding in populated areas, killing at least 16 people and leaving 18 others missing, Chinese state media said Thursday.

Rescuers, who earlier reported 36 people missing, had found 18 of them by early afternoon, state broadcaster CCTV said in an online update. The official casualties, however, may not reflect the total, given the Chinese regime has a record of downplaying and covering up information from such events.

The Wednesday night disaster affected more than 6,000 people in six villages in Qinghai province, CCTV said.

China is facing both heavy rains and flooding in some parts of the country this summer and intense heat and drought in other regions. State media have described the prolonged heat and drought as the worst since record keeping started 60 years ago.

Emergency authorities described the flash flooding in Qinghai’s Datong county as a “mountain torrent.” Such torrents generally result from heavy squalls in mountainous areas. Water running down the mountain can turn gullies or streams into raging rivers, catching people by surprise.

Video posted by the Beijing News website showed muddy water rushing down a wide street at night and debris-strewn areas with uprooted trees, partially washed-away roads, and overturned cars after the waters had receded.

Seven people died last weekend from a mountain torrent in southwestern China’s Sichuan province.

Elsewhere in Sichuan and other provinces, crops are wilting and factories have been shut down as a drought cut hydropower supplies and high temperatures raised the demand for electricity to run air conditioners.

Tesla Ltd. and SAIC, one of China’s biggest state-owned automakers, suspended production at factories in Shanghai due to a lack of components from 16 suppliers in Sichuan that shut down, the Shanghai Economic and Information Industry Committee said in a letter released Thursday.