Factories and businesses in southern China, already reeling from supply-chain disruptions and Covid-19 restrictions, faced a new threat this week as flood waters kept employees home and froze transport.
Shaoguan, where average rainfall since late May has breached historical records, raised the flood alert to its highest as local authorities asked residents along river banks and low-lying houses to relocate to higher ground.
However, the heavy rains are likely to reduce China’s coal demand by boosting hydroelectric power generation to a record high.
After weeks of pounding rains, two provinces have upgraded warnings as floods reached record levels and rivers overflowed their banks, prompting relocation of people and work disruptions, state media reported.
Shaoguan’s flood, drought and wind control headquarters said shutdown measures may be enforced at construction sites, businesses, public transport and docks while workers unable to show up at work should not be forced to travel.
Flood Red Alert
The water level of Guangdong’s Beijiang River also rose past warning levels and beat a 1994 record.
In Jiangxi province to the northeast, authorities raised a flood “red alert” after 485,000 people in nine districts were affected, Xinhua news agency said.
Economic losses reached 470 million yuan ($70.21 million), with 43,300 hectares of crops destroyed, Xinhua reported.
The rains in the southern provinces were forecast to shift northward from Wednesday. Regions north of the Yangtze River have been experiencing searing heat, pushing up power consumption the past weekend.
China’s Central Meteorological Observatory continued to issue a high temperature “orange warning” for northern areas such as central and southern Hebei, most of Beijing and parts of Shandong, Tianjin and Henan.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell