Extreme weather forces evacuation of entire township in Guangdong, China

File photo.

25th April 2024 – (Beijing) Torrential rains accompanied by hail and hurricane-force winds have wrought havoc across southern China, culminating in the emergency evacuation of over 1,700 residents from Jiangwan township in Guangdong province. The evacuation, conducted by buses and helicopters, was a necessary response to the escalating flood threat, according to reports from local authorities released on Thursday, 25th April.

Jiangwan, located in the Shaoguan region, faced an unprecedented natural crisis as the latest storm series intensified. Jiang, a 72-year-old local who preferred to be identified only by his surname, told the state-run China Daily, “I have never seen such heavy rain in my life, nor have people older than me.” This sentiment underscores the severity of the current weather patterns affecting the area.

The storms have caused extensive damage throughout the region, disrupting power and mobile networks by downing lines and toppling infrastructure. The relentless downpour has triggered dangerous mudslides, inundated residential areas, and destroyed critical bridges, leaving communities grappling with significant disruptions.

Guangdong, often referred to as the “factory floor of the world,” has experienced record-breaking rainfall this April, surpassing numerous local historical records. The province is no stranger to severe weather, having faced similar challenges in June 2022 when the heaviest rainfall in sixty years prompted the evacuation of hundreds of thousands.

Social media posts from a restaurant in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, captured the intensity of the situation earlier this week. Patrons watched in alarm as hurricane-like winds uprooted trees and heavy rains battered the streets, highlighting the ferocity of the storms.

The latest meteorological onslaught, which has already claimed at least four lives, is attributed to the El Niño weather pattern and an unusually strong subtropical high. This high-pressure system, typically positioned north of the equator, has drawn in exceptionally moist air from the South China Sea and even the distant Bay of Bengal, exacerbating the rainfall and wind conditions across southern China.