BEIJING – Nine people were killed and 13 others are missing after torrential rain triggered floods that lead to the evacuation of 60,000 people in Guizhou province, the province’s civil affairs bureau said on Monday.
The downpour first hit parts of the province on Friday and has affected 200,000 people, according to the bureau.
The heavy rain has also inundated 9,383 hectares of farmland in the region and caused economic losses estimated at 170 million yuan ($26.23 million).
Other parts of the province were flooded in the following days. Water levels on the Wangmo River in Wangmo county were more than 3 meters higher than the safety level because of the downpour, which lasted for a day from 8 am on Sunday, causing massive floods and the evacuation of some 6,000 residents in the county.
The National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs initiated an emergency response plan on Monday afternoon to cope with the flooding. One hundred tents, 2,000 quilts and 3,000 items of clothing have been sent to the flood-hit region.
The central government also sent a special work team to Guizhou on Monday to direct relief work.
Eastern and southern Guizhou, central Hunan, southeastern Hubei and western and northern Zhejiang already received 100 to 200 millimeters of rain between Saturday and Monday, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said.
Before the torrential downpour, drought was the major concern with more than 3.5 million people suffering water shortages, according to a statement posted on the website of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
The downpour did bring some partial relief from water shortages for more than 1 million people as reservoirs in the region were replenished, the statement said.
However, 2.15 million people are still affected by water shortages.
The rain has also brought a measure of relief to some farmers. The total area of farmland affected by the drought dropped by 1.49 million hectares to 2.3 million hectares as of Monday, it said.
In Jiangxi, about 186,500 hectares of farmland was relieved from drought by Sunday, the local drought relief authority said, and Hunan province was able to reclaim about 340,666 hectares of farmland from drought.
Drought-hit provinces will be “basically relieved from drought this month” as the rainy season begins, CMA chief Zheng Guoguang was quoted as saying in a report by China National Radio on Monday.
However, local authorities should not slacken in fighting drought, as water levels remain low in many major lakes, rivers and reservoirs in central parts, he said.
A recent CMA forecast said that heavy rain would lash eastern and southern parts from Monday to Wednesday.
The torrential rain also triggered floods in western and northern Hunan province, including Xiangxi Tujia-Miao autonomous prefecture, Huaihua and Loudi cities. Flooding affected about 103 townships since 8 am on Saturday.
The accumulated rainfall in Fenghuang county, in western Hunan province, reached 231.5 mm by Sunday, according to data released by local authorities.
The flash flooding blocked some roads in the county for more than 3 hours on Saturday, but the roads had been cleared, an official from the local transportation department told China Daily.
The Tuojiang River, which runs through Fenghuang county, broke its banks submerging roads, the official added.
Xinhua contributed to this story.