Heavy Rain Hits Yangtze River Again, Inundating Cities and Leaving Many Homeless

August 16, 2020 Updated: August 16, 2020

Flooding as a result of heavy rainfall in Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces caused the Yangtze River to overflow in recent days, inundating cities in China’s western regions.

The Yangtze’s water level in Chongqing city may exceed the safety level on Aug. 19, which means an embankment breach could happen at any time, according to state-run broadcaster CCTV, which cited officials.

China’s cabinet-like State Council said at a press conference on Aug. 13 that rainfall in areas along the Yangtze and Huai rivers have reached their highest levels since 1961.

Epoch Times Photo
A woman uses a bike to cross a flooded street after a sudden rain in Beijing on Aug. 9, 2020. (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the country’s deputy minister of emergency management, Zhou Xuewen, unintentionally revealed that more than 4 million people were evacuated from their homes during floods this year.

Rainfall has begun to move north to the areas where the Yellow, Hai, Songhua, and Liao rivers lie. The Yellow River has experienced flooding since Aug. 11, but authorities have kept mum about its impact.

Two Floods

The Yangtze River Committee of China’s Water Resources Ministry announced on Aug. 16 that a new flood peak formed in the Jialing River, a main Yangtze tributary, and entered the Yangtze near Chongqing, a sprawling city with more than 30 million residents.

The peak of the Jialing river flooding is expected to trigger another flood peak in the Yangtze on Aug. 19, according to the committee.

The upper-stream area of the Yangtze River is also under threat from heavy rain, Chongqing authorities said on Aug. 16. Flooding from the Jialing River and the Yangtze’s upper stream may cause the latter’s water level to top its safety limit on Aug. 19.

Meanwhile, low-lying areas of Meishan, Guangyuan, and Deyang cities in Sichuan Province and Chongqing have been swamped by floodwaters since Aug. 13, according to videos that residents shared with The Epoch Times.

Flooding has also been reported in Lueyang, a county in Shaanxi Province. At 4:10 p.m on Aug. 16, the county government ordered all residents, regardless of rural areas or urban areas, to move to at least the third floor of buildings that have more than six stories.

The government also listed nine residential compounds that it said were too old to defend against possible flooding.

More cities in Sichuan, such as Chengdu, Ngawa, and Mianyang also reported severe flooding on Aug. 16.

Meanwhile, heavy rains also caused flooding along parts of the Yellow River, specifically in Linyi city in Shandong Province and Longnan city in Gansu Province. Stormwater submerged villages and sparked mudslides.

It’s unclear how many people were affected; there was no information about any deaths or missing persons.

Impact

While heavy rain has caused historic flooding since June, authorities have refused to disclose the total fallout from the disaster. Residents told The Epoch Times that authorities have prohibited people from posting information online and blocked people from entering villages hit by mudslides.

During the press conference, Zhou did concede that, nationwide, more than 63 million people have been affected by floods this year, with over 4 million forced to leave their homes.

Epoch Times Photo
A man looks at a flooded street after a sudden rain in Beijing on Aug. 9, 2020. (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Of those who lost their homes, Zhou said 17,500 of them were rescued or evacuated by firefighters; more than 3.98 million people were left to escape the flooding on their own.

Zhou also said two-thirds of the land in Jiangxi Province was submerged by floods before the harvest.

According to China’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Ministry, the entire country has 42.13 million hectares (about 104.1 million acres) of relatively good-quality farmland. Much of it is located in the drainage basin regions of the Yangtze, Huai, and Yellow rivers—where the most severe flooding has occurred his year.