Meizhou rainstorm in Guangdong claims five lives, leaves 15 missing, and cuts power to 138,000 households


17th June 2024 – (Guangzhou) Meizhou, a city in Guangdong province, experienced a devastating rainstorm on Sunday (June 16th), with heavy downpours and localized torrential rain. The town of Sishui in Pingyuan County recorded a staggering 369.3 millimetres of rainfall within 24 hours. The torrential rain triggered flash floods and landslides in multiple areas, resulting in the loss of five lives, 15 people reported missing, and 13 individuals trapped. Moreover, nearly 138,000 households were left without electricity in Meizhou, and communication services were disrupted in some towns and villages.

In response to the crisis, Huang Kunming, the Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee, conducted a video conference to oversee and coordinate emergency rescue operations in the affected areas. Following the directives of the Provincial Party Committee, Wang Weizhong, the Deputy Secretary and Governor of Guangdong Province, along with officials from various departments including Civil Affairs, Public Security, Finance, Natural Resources, Transportation, Water Resources, Health, Emergency Management, Fire Rescue, and Meteorology, promptly rushed to the disaster-stricken frontline in Meizhou to supervise and direct flood control and disaster relief efforts on-site.

On Monday (17th June), the Provincial Flood Control, Drought Relief, and Wind Control Headquarters raised the emergency response level to Level Three and dispatched three rescue helicopters to the affected areas for personnel evacuation and supply distribution. According to preliminary statistics, over 200 teams comprising more than 9,000 individuals have been mobilized for emergency rescue operations. The Provincial Flood Control Headquarters has also mobilized 18 emergency rescue teams, consisting of 1,835 personnel and 986 sets of equipment, to rapidly engage in rescue work in Meizhou.

Seventeen rivers in the Hanjiang River Basin have experienced flooding beyond the warning level, with seven rivers, including the Tingjiang River, surpassing the guaranteed safety level. The Songyuan River and Shiku River witnessed the most significant floods ever recorded. At the Three River Dam Water Level Station, located in the main stream of the Hanjiang River in Dapu County, Meizhou, the water level reached the warning level (42 meters) at 11.40pm on Sunday night. This event has been designated as the “Hanjiang River’s Fourth Flood of 2024” in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Water Resources.

The Ministry of Water Resources has initiated Level Four emergency responses for flood defence in Guangdong Province and maintained the same level of response for Fujian Province. Notifications have been issued to the water resources departments of the two provinces and the Pearl River Water Resources Commission, urging them to strengthen flood control and disaster response efforts. The Pearl River Commission has activated Level Three emergency responses for flood defence, implementing flood diversion and peak reduction measures at upstream reservoirs such as Mianhuatan Reservoir, and pre-releasing water from midstream reservoirs including Gaobi Reservoir to alleviate flood pressure downstream. The water resources departments of Guangdong and Fujian provinces have intensified flood control and reservoir operation management, successfully relocating and settling approximately 11,100 people in emergency shelters.