Officials predict torrential downpours, deluges in southern provincial regions
With higher precipitation than normal years, the country will confront a grim flood control situation this rainy season as torrential downpours wreak havoc in southern parts of the country, officials said on Thursday.
The accumulated precipitation so far this year has been 6 percent more than the same period in recent years. Following 19 rounds of rainfall, 148 rivers have been stricken by floods that raised water above their warning levels, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.
Rainfall since June 2, which has engulfed 12 provincial regions, stands out as the strongest. The areas that have received over 40 centimeters of precipitation reach more than 24,000 square kilometers, said Tian Yitang, head of the ministry's flood and drought control and prevention department.
Longtan township in Huizhou, Guangdong province, even received precipitation of over 114 centimeters, he said during a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.
According to a media release on Monday from the National Disaster Reduction Center, floods caused by the downpours had left nine dead and another five missing in eight provincial regions, including Hunan and Guizhou provinces. A total of 120,000 people were evacuated.
"A forecast from the meteorological department shows that there will be more precipitation in southern parts of the country this year," Tian said. "The flood control situation will be grim. We have to be prepared for major floods."
Liu Zhiyu, head of the ministry's hydrological monitoring and forecast center, said major floods are expected in five river basins, including the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and Xijiang River in the Pearl River Basin. Meanwhile, storm surges may occur in Taihu Lake, the Huaihe River and middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River.
Ye Jianchun, vice-minister of water resources, said the ministry has managed to repair over 99 percent of the roughly 99,600 water conservancy projects that were damaged by floods last year.