Beijing records heaviest rain in 140 years
AFP | Riyadh
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Deadly rains that pummelled China’s capital in recent days were the heaviest since records began 140 years ago, Beijing’s weather service said on Wednesday, as a massive cleanup operation began.
Millions of people have been hit by extreme weather events and prolonged heatwaves around the globe in recent weeks, events that scientists say are being exacerbated by climate change.
And the Beijing Meteorological Service said the capital has just experienced the “heaviest rainfall in 140 years”, when city authorities started keeping records.
“The maximum (amount) of rainfall recorded during this storm, which was 744.8 millimetres, occurred at the Wangjiayuan Reservoir in Changping,” the service said, adding the largest volume previously recorded was 609 millimetres in 1891.
At least 11 people have died in the rains in Beijing, state broadcaster CCTV said Tuesday, with more than a dozen missing. The epicentre of flooding shifted to neighbouring Hebei province yesterday.
Dramatic aerial photographs of Hebei’s Zhuozhou city showed shopping streets turned into rivers of brown water, while others showed farmland in the surrounding areas completely submerged and floodwater stretching for miles.
A 34-year-old print factory worker, who gave only his surname of Liu, said water began pouring into Zhuozhou’s factory district on Monday afternoon. “First we tried to block the water, but then it was impossible,” Liu told AFP.
“We couldn’t get any of our plant’s equipment or materials out to shelter. We were trapped inside until midday today before being rescued.” AFP saw rescuers using boats to ferry instant noodles, bread and drinking water to residents who could not or did not want to leave properties engulfed by water.
Tons of rubbish
In Beijing’s Fangshan district, on the border between the capital and Hebei province, an AFP team saw a park that had been completely flooded, with tons of rubbish that had been washed away by torrential rains stuck near a bridge.
“I have never seen something like this in more than 40 years,” said a 71-year-old resident called Li, who also did not want to give her full name. A police officer said the area became “extremely dangerous” on Tuesday. State media footage showed rescuers rowing inflatable rafts through waterlogged neighbourhoods, while locals clung to construction scaffolding awaiting help.