Three Typhoons Hit Northeastern China, Causing Floods and Crop Destruction

By Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.
September 9, 2020Updated: September 9, 2020

Three typhoons hit northeastern China’s Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces from Aug. 27 to Sept. 8, causing heavy rain and devastating flooding.

China’s Emergency Management Ministry said on Sept. 8 that water levels of 23 major rivers in Heilongjiang Province had topped warning levels, but said additional rainfall was in the forecast until Sept. 11. Five of the rivers have risen above their guarantee levels, which means embankment breaches could occur at any time.

The ministry said a similar situation was occurring in Jilin Province.

In an online video, farmers could be heard shouting, “My goodness! What can I live with?” as they watched their crops being submerged by floodwaters. With harvest season approaching and many crops about to mature, farmers lost their source of income.

As flooding destroyed bridges and roads in rural areas, villagers were forced to leave home in a hurry as the risk of mudslides loomed.

Meanwhile, cars were seen stalled in stormwater in major cities such as Yanbian in Jilin and Harbin in Heilongjiang.

Historic Flooding

On Sept. 8, China’s National Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and the emergency management ministry met to discuss the flood response.

According to state-run Beijing News, authorities asked the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang to monitor the risk of flooding, mudslides, and waterlogging in cities due to rainfall that’s expected to continue until Sept. 11.

On Sept. 6, the Heilongjiang-operated Dongbei Net reported that 23 local rivers were experiencing their worst flooding in the past five to 20 years. On Sept. 9, state-run Xinhua reported that more rivers suffered flooding, with 25 rivers reaching above warning levels.

On Sept. 9, Dongbei Net noted that annually, an average of 1.2 typhoons affect northeastern China, but there were three this year: Bavi, Maysak, and Haishen.

Temperatures in northeastern China could drop to about 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) in the evening, creating a challenge for people who are homeless after being forced to evacuate.


Late August and early September is the harvest season for rice, corn, and wheat in northeastern China. Two weeks later, farmers usually harvest soybeans.

Heilongjiang is one of China’s main producers of corn, soybean, and Japonica rice. Its soybean yield makes up 45 percent of Chinese production. It also harvests 40 percent of Chinese-produced Japonica rice, and 20 percent of China’s corn, according to state-run media Futures Daily.

Local villagers shared videos with The Epoch Times, in which farmers in the Harbin area stood in their swampy fields and tried to harvest whatever corn hadn’t yet been destroyed.

In other videos, the flooding appeared too severe to even enter the fields, leaving villagers to stand by as their crops were washed away.

Other Areas

Other areas of China have experienced unusually heavy rainfall.

In the southern city of Xiamen, in Guangdong Province, heavy rain triggered flooding on Sept. 7.

In southwestern China’s Liupanshui city in Guizhou Province, stormwaters flowed into the first floor of local stores and residents’ houses on Sept. 6.

In the northwestern city of Longnan in Gansu Province, rainfall caused mudslides on Sept. 7. In mid-August, mudslides there had killed at least five people, according to state broadcaster CCTV.