Chinese authorities reported that at least 15 have been found dead due to devastating flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the country's northern province of Shanxi while more than two million others were displaced from their homes.
The weather catastrophe destroyed thousands of homes in the region, forcing over 120,000 residents to relocate in fear of being swept away, said officials on Tuesday. This month's incident marks the region's worst flooding in history since record-keeping began, meteorological official Wang Wenyi said on Tuesday during a news conference.
Devastating Flooding in China
Wang added that the average rainfall experienced by the region in October was 13 times that of the same timeframe in an average year. During the news conference, local emergency management official Wang Qirui said that more than 1.75 million people were affected by the massive floods that destroyed more than 19,500 homes while severely damaging 18,200 other houses. The official added that there were three people that have yet to be accounted for that are missing.
Wang said the flooding has caused more than five billion Chinese yuan ($775 million) worth of damages throughout the province. The weather phenomena also forced 60 coal mines in Shanxi to close down, CNN reported.
The recent catastrophe comes less than three months from the extreme rainfall that battered Henan province earlier this year that left more than 300 people dead. It was also reported that a bus had fallen into a flooded river in the neighboring province of Hebei. Out of the 51 passengers on board, 11 were reported missing and three were declared dead.
Rescue efforts that were deployed to find and save residents were also hampered by the heavy and prolonged rainfall and storms in the Shanxi province. The severe rainfall also threatens the region's number of ancient monuments.
A local media outlet reported that four police officers died after being hit by a landslide caused by the devastating weather. Many have considered the recent flooding to be worse than the Henan-experienced incident earlier this year, BBC reported.
Series of Weather Disasters
The Shanxi incident marks the latest in a series of devastating weather catastrophes that China has experienced this year. Since January, more than 792 people have either lost their lives or have been reported missing due to natural disasters.
Authorities also reported that freezing weather, snowstorms, sandstorms, forest and grassland fires, and marine disasters in the country have affected more than 94.94 million people. The Shanxi flooding also damaged about 10.500 hectares of crops. The weather disasters have caused more than $44.37 billion worth of damages in total this year.
During the first half of the year, authorities reported that at least 156 people were either dead or missing. Storms also caused severe flooding in the Henan and Hebei provinces in July and August, killing at least 21 people. Many criticized Beijing for its alleged failure to respond properly to the weather catastrophes that have resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives and damaged the livelihood of millions of people, the Times of India reported.