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China floods

China evacuates entire town as record rains, winds lash its south

China evacuates entire town as record rains, winds lash its south
An aerial drone photo shows a view of the Beijiang River tributary in Wujiang District of Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province, China, 21 April 2024 (issued 22 April 2024). The lower reaches of the Beijiang River were expected to experience big floods caused by the heavy and continuous downpours. The provincial disaster reduction committee has initiated a Level IV emergency response to tackle the floods that hit the cities of Shaoguan and Qingyuan in Guangdong. EPA-EFE/XINHUA / Lu Hanxin CHINA OUT / UK AND IRELAND OUT /

BEIJING, April 25 (Reuters) - Relentless rains, hail and winds of near hurricane intensity battered southern China, forcing the evacuation of an entire town of more than 1,700 people in the province of Guangdong, media said on Thursday.

Buses and helicopters ferried to safety all the residents of the township of Jiangwan in the Shaoguan region as a new round of floods arrived, the reports said, citing local authorities.

“I have never seen such heavy rain in my life, nor have people older than me,” said Jiang, a 72-year-old resident who gave only his surname, according to state-run China Daily.

Power lines were downed and mobile telephone networks disrupted across the region, as the rains set off dangerous mudslides, inundated homes and destroyed bridges.

Since the arrival of powerful storms last week, scenes of havoc have played out across the province, once dubbed the “factory floor of the world”, as dozens of local rainfall records have been shattered for the month of April.

In a restaurant in the provincial capital of Guangzhou this week, customers gazed in horror as winds became hurricane-like gales and tore down trees, while fast-moving sheets of rain pounded the street outside, videos on social media showed.

The province prone to summer floods had its defences tested in June 2022 with the heaviest downpours in six decades, which forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

The latest storms, which have killed at least four people, were brought by the El Nino weather phenomenon and a stronger-than-normal subtropical high, a semi-permanent high pressure system circulating north of the equator.

The associated warmer temperatures drew in more moisture-laden air from the South China Sea and even as far away as the Bay of Bengal, weather officials said, leading to more rain and winds.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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