China floods: 20 dead and 27 missing in Beijing after days of rain

china rains

Bejing: China is grappling with another deadly disaster as heavy rains have triggered floods and landslides in the mountains surrounding Beijing, killing at least 20 people and leaving 27 others missing. The floods are the worst to hit the capital since 2012 when 77 people died.

The downpours, which started on Friday, were caused by the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri, one of the strongest storms to hit China in years. The typhoon had earlier battered the southern Fujian province, affecting more than 2.6 million people and causing economic losses of over $1 billion.

The rainfall in Beijing reached an average of 175.7 mm (6.9 inches) in 48 hours, according to CNN Weather. But some western districts, where most of the fatalities were reported, saw much more. In Mentougou district, the average rainfall was more than 457 mm (18 inches), while nearby Fangshan saw 406 mm (16 inches) of rain.

The unprecedented deluge has overwhelmed riverbeds, washed away roads and cars, damaged crops and farmland, and forced more than 127,000 people to evacuate. Horrifying videos on social media showed commuters chest-deep in murky floodwaters on a train in the dark, and an underground station turned into a large, churning pool. Other videos showed rescue workers and residents wading through waist-deep water as they tried to escape the rising floods.

President Xi Jinping has ordered local governments to go “all out” to rescue those trapped and minimize the loss of life and damage to property. He also instructed authorities to strengthen flood prevention and disaster relief measures and ensure the safety of major infrastructure projects.

More than 5,700 soldiers and personnel from the People’s Liberation Army have been deployed to assist with the search and rescue operations. Firefighters have rescued 150 children and staff from a school in Zhengzhou, while officials have arranged transport for nearly 600 critically ill patients from a hospital that lost all power. The Shaolin Temple, a sanctuary for Buddhist monks, has also been reportedly hit by severe floods.

china rains

The situation remains grim as meteorologists predict more rain across northern China for the next three days. The authorities have warned of possible landslides, dam breaches, and further flooding. China faces typhoons and heavy rains during the summer months, but the frequency and destruction that the annual rains bring have been exacerbated by climate change and rapid urbanization.