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Historic flooding in southern China kills 47, with more floods feared in coming days

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, rescuers clear debris in a flood-affected area in Sishui Township of Pingyuan County, Meizhou City, southern China's Guangdong Province, June 20, 2024. (Lu Hanxin/Xinhua via AP) In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, rescuers clear debris in a flood-affected area in Sishui Township of Pingyuan County, Meizhou City, southern China's Guangdong Province, June 20, 2024. (Lu Hanxin/Xinhua via AP)
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Beijing, China -

At least 47 people have died as downpours in southern China’s Guangdong province caused historic flooding and slides, state media reported Friday, while authorities warned of more extreme weather ahead in other parts of the country.

State broadcaster CCTV said Friday afternoon that another 38 people were confirmed dead in a county under the jurisdiction of Meizhou city, adding to nine others previously reported dead elsewhere in Meizhou.

Heavy rains caused landslides, floods and mudslides that severely damaged eight townships in Pingyuan county, where the latest deaths were reported, CCTV said. The heaviest rains were on Sunday, with an average rainfall of 199 mm (7.83 inches), and one town seeing 365.7 mm (14.4 inches). It is unclear from the report when the deaths occurred.

The extreme weather also destroyed some 356 kilometres (221 miles) of road, damaged more than a hundred bridges and flooded farmland.

The previous day, CCTV reported four deaths in Meizhou's Meixian district, and five in Jiaoling County.

The heaviest rains were from Sunday into Tuesday, toppling trees and collapsing homes. A road leading to Meixian district completely collapsed during the heavy rains. The Songyuan river, which winds through Meizhou, experienced its biggest recorded flood, according to CCTV.

The estimated direct economic loss is 3.65 billion yuan (US$502 million) in Jiaoling county, while in Meixian district, the loss is 1.06 billion yuan (US$146 million).

Other parts of the country also face torrential rains and extreme weather in the next 24 hours, with the National Meteorological Center issuing a warning for several provinces in the south and a few individual places in the north.

Henan and Anhui provinces in central China, as well as Jiangsu province on the coast and the southern province of Guizhou, all are expecting hail and strong thunderstorms, according to the forecast. Rainfall could be as high as 50 mm to 80 mm (1.9 to 3.14 inches) in one day in Henan, Anhui and Hubei provinces, the National Meteorological Center said.

Last week, it was southern Fujian and Guangxi provinces that experienced landslides and flooding amid heavy rain. One student died in Guangxi after falling into a river swollen from the downpour.

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