Weeks of torrential thunderstorms across China have resulted in the country’s worst flooding since 1998, relocating 1.4 million residents, damaging 7 million acres of crops and killing at least 186 people.
The areas in central and southern China, particularly near the Yangtze and Huai rivers, have been particularly hard-hit, as the waterways flooded their banks. The devastation by the flash floods was exacerbated by the arrival of Typhoon Nepartak, which forced nearly 15,000 people out of their homes and killed at least six, as part of Taiwan saw its strongest winds in over a century.
The typhoon downgraded to tropical depression when it reached Fujian during the weekend, but still managed to cause mayhem by ripping apart buildings, upending cars and swamping towns in mud.
The flash flood caused by the torrential rain, coupled with the devastation by the typhoon, affected more than 32 million Chinese citizens in 12 provinces and caused $10 billion in damages, reported China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The tempestuous weather also took a toll on farm animals. In Anhui, the rising water level killed over 700 hogs, 215 bulls and 5 million fowls. Almost a 100 alligators escaped from a breeding farm after the flood waters allowed them to swim out of their pens, posing a risk to people who are traversing the waters.
In Hunan, the inundation forced more than 100 trains to stop or make detours.
The death toll, fortunately, is considerably lesser than the 4,150 reported in 1998. The heavy flooding, both then and now, have been linked to the effects of El Nino.