Beijing, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- More than 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the central Chinese province of Sichuan due to the strong floods hitting the region, which has triggered the highest level of emergency response, according to state media.
Continued rains caused 22 major rivers in the province to exceed their flood alert threshold, flooding urban areas in cities such as Ya’an and Leshan, where local authorities have evacuated more than 100,000 people, Xinhua reported late Tuesday night.
The agency added that authorities have raised the level of emergency flood response to deal with the situation from Level 2 to Level 1, the highest on a four-tier scale.
Meanwhile, in the city of Yibin, where 26,000 people have also been evacuated, it is feared that the rains will overflow the Min River, the northern river head of the Yangtze, CCTV reported.
It is the worst flood in the area in 50 years, added CCTV, which showed images of residents cleaning mud and debris from their houses with shovels and brooms after the arrival of water torrents, which have also blocked roads and streets in the region.
Likewise, water levels in streams on the Baishuijiang, Baihe and Tangzhu rivers in Sichuan Jiuzhaigou county have surpassed their all-time highs, with levees broken in some sections.
The floods even covered the feet of the UNESCO World Heritage Leshan Giant Buddha statue on the outskirts of the city of Leshan, the first time that has happened since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
According to the provincial meteorological observatory, rains are leaving Sichuan, but still persist in other regions such as Shaanxi, in the center of the country, which also raised their emergency response level.
The central flood control authority on Tuesday increased the state level response from the third to the second level and asked local officials to activate emergency plans in case the rains continue to hit areas surrounding the Yangtze.
The coastal province of Anhui, also affected by torrential rains, received an unexpected visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, who inspected the area and was briefed on the relief measures put in place.
Meanwhile, emergency level 4 has been activated to face the arrival of Typhoon Higos, which is expected to hit southern areas of the country on Wednesday accompanied by strong winds and heavy rains.
The typhoon is expected to cause flooding in the southern provinces of Hainan, Canton and Yunnan, as well as Guangxi, according to the National Meteorological Observatory. EFE-EPA