More than 120,000 people were evacuated after torrential rains triggered flooding in northern China’s Shanxi province, authorities said on Sunday.
The floods disrupted the lives of 1.76 million people in 76 counties, towns and districts, according to the provincial emergency management department.
Some 190,000 hectares of crops were damaged and more than 17,000 houses collapsed, the department said.
Emergency management services at different levels have allocated 4,000 tents, 3,200 rollaway beds as well as cotton clothing and quilts for disaster relief.
The provincial meteorological office said more rains are still to come in the southern part of Shanxi, with temperatures expected to drop significantly.
Provincial authorities have allocated 50 million yuan ($ 7.8 million) to support flood control and relief work.
Zhang Jinye, from rural Hejin City, was one of some 200 villagers who were evacuated to a nearby primary school. Classrooms are equipped with air conditioners, hot water, televisions and beds. “Even the quilts were ready when we arrived,” said Zhang, 60.
On Saturday, China’s National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Emergency Management jointly activated a Level IV emergency response to the flooding in Shanxi. The province has also issued a Level III emergency response to natural disasters.
China has a four-tier emergency flood response system, with Level I being the most severe.
Located at the eastern end of the Loess Plateau, the coal-rich province is generally dry. However, the province’s average precipitation reached 119.5 millimeters from 8 p.m. on Oct. 2 to 8 a.m. on Oct. 7 of this year, three times the normal average precipitation for October in previous years, according to the provincial meteorological office.
A total of 63 national weather monitoring stations in the province have seen accumulated precipitation figures reach record levels.
Along the lower Fenhe River, a tributary of the Yellow River, China’s second longest waterway, the maximum water flow reached 1,100 cubic meters per second, the largest flood peak in nearly 40 years. This caused a dike to rupture on a section of the river in Hejin, Yuncheng City, at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
The repair operation is still in progress.
The peak flood waters of the Fenhe River passed into the Yellow River on Saturday, but water levels on the tributary are still high, according to the Yuncheng Water Affairs Bureau.
Heavy rains also damaged a 25-meter section of the wall in the ancient city of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its well-preserved ancient architecture. Continuous downpours are the greatest threat to open-pit clay architecture with a 2700-year history.