Severe Storm Batters Southern China, Forcing Evacuation of 1,700 People

Devastating storm batters China's Guangdong province, causing widespread damage, power outages, and the tragic death of an emergency responder, highlighting the growing threat of extreme weather events due to climate change.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Severe Storm Batters Southern China, Forcing Evacuation of 1,700 People

Severe Storm Batters Southern China, Forcing Evacuation of 1,700 People

A severe storm with heavy rain, hail, and near-hurricane winds has battered the Guangdong province in southern China, forcing the evacuation of over 1,700 people from the town of Jiangwan. The relentless rains, hail, and powerful winds have caused widespread damage, with power lines downed, mobile networks disrupted, and bridges destroyed.

The storm triggered a devastating landslide in Jiangwan Town, Shaoguan City, resulting in the death of Liu Yongjia, a 28-year-old emergency responder who was part of the local emergency management team. Despite the hazardous conditions, Liu responded swiftly to the call for duty and was assisting with efforts to fortify the overwater bridge area when the landslide occurred, tragically burying him. Several other residents were also injured in the storm, but their injuries were not life-threatening.

Scenes of havoc were reported across the province, with the capital Guangzhou experiencing hurricane-like winds that tore down trees. A 72-year-old resident described the rain as the heaviest he has ever seen, and videos on social media showed customers in a Guangzhou restaurant watching in horror as the winds became hurricane-like and tore down trees.

Why this matters: The severe storm in Guangdong highlights the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events in the region, which have been attributed to climate change. The devastating impact on infrastructure and the loss of life underscore the urgent need for enhanced disaster preparedness and response measures.

This latest round of storms has shattered dozens of local rainfall records for the month of April, with Jiangwan Town experiencing a record-breaking 127.4mm of rainfall within a single hour at the old power station reservoir. It comes after the province experienced its heaviest downpours in six decades in June 2022, which forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

The storms have been attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon and a stronger-than-normal subtropical high, which has drawn in more moisture-laden air from the South China Sea and the Bay of Bengal, leading to the heavy rain and winds. At least four people have been killed as a result of the severe weather.

The incident has left the community in mourning and highlighted the risks faced by those on the front lines of disaster response. "Liu Yongjia responded swiftly to the call for duty and was assisting with efforts to fortify the overwater bridge area when the landslide occurred, tragically burying him," local officials stated. The severe storm has caused extensive damage across Guangdong, disrupting power and mobile networks, triggering dangerous mudslides, inundating residential areas, and destroying critical infrastructure.

Key Takeaways

  • Severe storm batters Guangdong, China, forcing 1,700+ evacuations.
  • Landslide kills 28-year-old emergency responder, several others injured.
  • Extreme weather attributed to climate change, shattering rainfall records.
  • Storms linked to El Nino, stronger subtropical high, causing heavy rain and winds.
  • Extensive damage to infrastructure, power, and mobile networks across Guangdong.