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    Record Rainfall Raises River Levels, Flood Risk in Northeast China

    More than a dozen rivers, mostly in Heilongjiang province, have swollen to their highest levels in decades.
    Jun 23, 2021#disasters

    Several parts of northeastern China have been battered with heavy rainfall since last week, with authorities warning of flooding, as water levels in the region’s rivers rise to record levels.

    According to the Ministry of Water Resources, 13 rivers, mostly in Heilongjiang province, have experienced above-normal water levels, with five exceeding historical highs last witnessed decades ago. Flash flooding in some areas has swept away bridges and inundated farms along the banks.

    The current average precipitation in the Heilongjiang River Basin is said to be the highest since 1961, according to state-owned China News. Since May, average rainfall in the basin has reached 155 millimeters, nearly twice the previous record.

    As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, provincial authorities in Heilongjiang upgraded to a level two emergency response, the second-highest warning in the four-tiered system.

    On Monday, 500 residents in the province’s Huma County were evacuated after local authorities raised its flood emergency response to the highest level, state broadcaster China Central Television reported. Authorities said that water levels in the area’s rivers have been rising rapidly and that the situation is becoming “grave.”

    As of Monday afternoon, another northeastern province, Jilin, had issued 44 warnings for lightning, hail, and heavy rain, according to the state-owned China News.

    Meteorologists forecast that northeast China will experience continued showers and thunderstorms Wednesday and Thursday.

    Last month, authorities evacuated thousands of residents in the eastern Jiangxi province following heavy rainfall that destroyed houses and farmlands. Chinese authorities have been on high alert to minimize flood-related damage after historic floods devastated large swaths of the country last year.

    Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

    (Header image: Rising water levels as seen from Heihe Station, Heilongjiang province, June 22, 2021. People Visual)