15 dead after heavy rain, floods in China coal region

By: AFP      Published: 09:54 AM, 12 Oct, 2021
15 dead after heavy rain, floods in China coal region
A view of the flood damage.

At least 15 people have died during unseasonably heavy rain and flooding in north China's Shanxi province earlier this month, local officials said Tuesday, after the normally dry region received three months' rain in one week.

The flooding hit the coal-rich landlocked region during a nationwide energy crunch, and after record floods killed more than 300 people in central Henan province in July.

At least 60 coal mines in the province -- one of China's top coal-producing regions -- had temporarily closed due to the floods, but now all but four have returned to normal operation, local emergency management official Wang Qirui said at a press conference.

Wang said around 19,000 buildings were destroyed by the extreme weather, with 18,000 others "seriously damaged".

"Fifteen people died due to the disaster, and three people remain missing," he added.

At least 1.75 million residents across the province have been affected by the floods, with 120,000 safely evacuated, according to Wang.

Photos published Tuesday by local state newspaper Shanxi Evening News showed traffic police carrying schoolchildren on their backs while wading through waist-deep water after multiple vehicles got trapped.

Shanxi received more than three times the average monthly rainfall for October in just five days last week, with the provincial government saying precipitation had broken records in multiple localities.

Several regions across China have been hit by unprecedented flooding this year.

Thousands were evacuated in the Hubei and Sichuan provinces this summer because of torrential rain.

And more than 300 people were killed in central China's Henan province last month after record downpours -- a year's worth of rain in three days.

Experts say freak weather events such as heavy floods and punishing droughts are becoming increasingly common because of climate change.

Nine dead in Philippines storm

At least nine people were killed and 11 others were missing after heavy rain across the Philippines flooded villages and triggered landslides, authorities said Tuesday.

Severe Tropical Storm Kompasu drenched swathes of the most populous island of Luzon on Monday as it swept across the archipelago nation towards the South China Sea.

Four people were killed in landslides in the landlocked mountainous province of Benguet, and one person drowned in the coastal province of Cagayan, the national disaster agency said. 

Seven people were missing on Luzon island. 

"Eleven municipalities were flooded but it subsided this morning," Cagayan provincial information officer Rogelio Sending told AFP.

Major highways and bridges were flooded, he said, but the water was retreating Tuesday.

The storm intensified the southwest monsoon, sparking a flash flood in a village in the western island province of Palawan, leaving four people dead and the same number missing.

"Around seven to eight barangays (villages) are still flooded... due to clogged drainage or lack of drainage," said Earl Timbancaya, a disaster officer in the city of Puerto Princesa on Palawan.

"But it's subsiding now."

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.

Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.