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Record floods threaten southern China – Asia Pacific News News – Report by AFR

Record flooding was expected in parts of southern China on Thursday, as heavy rains pushed water levels in the Pearl River Delta to the highest in nearly a century.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from the hardest-hit parts of the region, including Guangdong province, a manufacturing and logistics hub that’s home to China’s tech capital, Shenzhen.

China’s Ministry of Water Resources on Wednesday issued its highest flood alert for the Pearl River Basin, saying water levels at one location had “surpassed historical records” and that the provincial capital, Guangzhou, would be affected.

Pictures from the city of Shaoguan, north of Guangzhou, on Wednesday showed residents making their way through flooded main streets as water reached the roofs of cars in some areas.

The muddy flood waters inundated businesses and buildings, and people could be seen clearing away the debris.

The low-lying Pearl River Delta is home to the economic centers of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as several smaller but densely populated cities with significant manufacturing and other industries.

Provincial disaster management agencies said earlier this week direct economic losses were estimated at 1.7 billion yuan ($253 million).

Under the highest alert, vulnerable areas in Guangdong have been ordered to take all necessary measures, including suspending work at factories and closing schools, to minimize damage.

Other regions in southern China, including the coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangxi, were also hit by record rains this month, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate.

Summer floods are common in parts of China, but these have become more extreme in recent years due to climate change.

Chinese authorities have so far not directly linked this year’s extreme floods to climate change.

Some local media have dubbed it “a flood of the century,” reporting that water levels have exceeded the highest recorded in 1931 and are approaching the region’s worst floods in 1915.

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