South China’s Guilin city hit by worst floods since 1998 devastation

The city of Guilin is experiencing its worst floods since 1998, with villagers trapped in their homes, shops under water and one railway station suspended as heavy rainfall continues to batter southern China.

Authorities in Guilin issued a level-1 flood emergency alert on Wednesday morning. By that evening, water levels at the city’s section of the Lijiang River had risen to 148.55 metres (487ft) – 2.55 metres (just over 8ft) beyond the alert level, and just over the 1998 peak of 148.4 metres, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Local authorities in Guilin, southern China, have sent food and emergency materials to trapped residents while others are evacuated where possible by boat. Photo: Weibo

The devastating floods of 1998 lasted two months and wreaked havoc on 24 provinces. A total of 3,004 people were killed and another 220 million were affected, with countless homes destroyed.

According to CCTV, multiple parts of Guilin, in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, are affected by the latest rains. So far, 69 residents have been rescued from their homes by boat, while others remain trapped.

Local authorities have sent food and emergency materials to those still in their homes and confirmed that they are temporarily out of danger, CCTV said.

Schools and buses have been suspended and some tourist spots are closed. Local traffic police said on Wednesday that multiple roads were flooded and one expressway had partially collapsed. Traffic control is in operation and repairs could take three months.

Rail passengers were advised to use Guilin North station, after the main Guilin station’s public square was flooded. On Thursday, Guilin station said on social media platform Weibo that some trains were suspended while others will be running late.

The rainstorms which have lashed the region and caused flooding in neighbouring Guangdong and Fujian provinces are expected to ease over the next few days, the weather bureau said. However, Guilin can expect at least two more days of heavy rainfall.

At least nine people are dead and hundreds have been left homeless in southern China. On Monday evening, Guangxi raised an orange alert – the second highest warning level – as the rainstorms moved north and west.



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