Global warming and illegal land reclamation add to severe floods in China

Global warming and illegal land reclamation add to severe floods in China

  • Worst flooding in decades has affected more than 37 million people and left 141 dead or missing
  • Climate change and developments that have reduced the size of freshwater lakes have contributed, according to experts

This summer, tens of millions of people across China have been affected by torrential rains that caused floods and landslides and battered cities and villages in dozens of provinces.

It is the worst flooding to hit China in decades. Heavy rains have lashed 27 of the country’s 31 provinces since June, affecting more than 37 million people and leaving 141 dead or missing, the Ministry of Emergency Management said on Monday. Economic losses have been estimated at 86 billion yuan (US$12.3 billion) so far.

By comparison, the Great Flood of 1993 along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries – one of the most costly and devastating floods seen in the United States – resulted in about 50 deaths and 54,000 people being evacuated. Economic losses were put at US$15 billion to US$20 billion.