The Times of
Violent storms and floods that experts say are a consequence of global warming have hit 200 million people in
Up to five million residents have been evacuated from their homes, while nearly 700 have lost their lives a toll that threatened to climb yesterday as 69 miners remained trapped in a flooded shaft. Worse may be yet to come. Describing the floods as the most severe the country had suffered in a decade, Chinese officials cautioned that more deadly weather would wreak havoc before the end of the summer.
The floods, an annual threat for
Dangerously high water levels along the main rivers have led to mass evacuations, while hundreds of thousands of homes and millions of hectares of crops have been destroyed. More flash floods, downpours and landslides are expected over the next few days, the Red Cross said, starting an emergency appeal for aid. High temperatures have made life even more uncomfortable for those displaced.
Gu Qinghui, the Red Crosss regional disaster management delegate for
Ewa Eriksson, the acting regional head in
Coalminers in central
However, continued heavy rains were hampering rescue efforts by triggering landslides on both sides of the mountain road leading to the mine.
Experts said that global warming, driven by growing greenhouse gas emissions from factories, farms and vehicles, was fuelling more intense weather in
Dong Wenjie, director-general of the Beijing Climate Centre, said in an interview on the centres website: The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are increasing records for worst-in-a-century rainstorms, droughts and heatwaves are being broken more often. This in fact is closely associated with global warming.
Global warming is usually linked with drought, but warmer, moister air is likely to bring more concentrated storms to many parts, scientists say.
Forecasters said torrential rain was likely to hit parts of the southwestern provinces of
But other areas were suffering meteorological misery of different kinds. More than one million people faced shortages of drinking water in several southern provinces as a heatwave compounded weeks of drought.
Land of deadly floods
An estimated seven million perished in the worlds deadliest flooding when the
About a million people died in the 20th centurys worst flood when the Yellow and Yangtze rivers mingled after bursting their banks in 1931
The Three Gorges Dam, on the
This year dykes throughout the south and west are under heavy pressure and could exacerbate the situation hugely if breached
Sources: International Red Cross;