China reports 141 dead or missing in flooding since June

BEIJING (AP) — The Yangtze River region has seen its second highest rainfall in more than a half-century so far this year as deadly flooding strikes much of China.

Around 28,000 homes have been damaged and 141 people have died or are missing in the floods since last month.

Virtually all of mainland China has been affected, excluding vast far western areas such as Tibet and Xinjiang, according to Vice Minister of Emergency Management Zheng Guoguang.

The Yangtze, Asia’s longest river, and parts of its watershed have seen the second highest rainfall since 1961 over the past six months, Zheng told reporters.

Damage has been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, adding to pressure on an economy deeply impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, including virus-related shutdowns and the loss of overseas markets.

Hubei province, through which the Yangtze flows and famed for its numerous lakes and rivers, is under particular threat. The province’s capital Wuhan was the epicentre of China’s virus outbreak, which appears to have largely been contained. The floodwaters have inundated towns across southern and central China and prompted emergency workers to shore-up embankments and dig channels to release overflow.