Beijing, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- Authorities in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, have once again urged residents to stay at home after raising the emergency response to its second-highest level amid floods caused by torrential rainfall.
After two consecutive days of heavy rains of over 250 mm, and plenty more forecast for the coming days, many roads in Wuhan have become waterlogged, according to Chinese state media.
The floods are the latest disaster to hit the city, and come just a matter of weeks after residents overcame the first peak of Covid-19.
Officials in the nearby city of Qianjiang, also in Hubei province, raised the alert to its highest level after rains severely damaged farmland in the area.
The precipitation in recent weeks has hit large swathes of central China, affecting some 20 million people, according to statistics from the Ministry of Emergency Management.
Although those figures have not been updated with the losses from the recent floods, the ministry did publish a dossier on Monday that said that 119 people had died from floods in the country during the first half of 2020.
The provinces of Hubei, Anhui and Hunan all raised their alert levels on Sunday, with more torrential rains and rising levels of rivers and lakes expected this week.
In some parts of the country, rainfall has been between 30 and 50 percent higher than normal.
Weather officials forecast that the risks of more severe floods during the next two months is “relatively high.”
Some 875,000 people have been evacuated, according to the Ministry’s most recent figures published on July 3, with some 355,000 requiring “urgent” help.
Around 218,000 homes have been damaged and 17,000 have collapsed, while some 16,000 hectares of farmland have been lost.
For the moment, the economic damage is estimated to be around 41.6 billion yuan ($5.9 billion), an unwelcome dent to the country that is still far from fully recovering from the severe financial crisis that was triggered by the Covid-19 shutdowns. EFE-EPA