June 16, 2008

South China Facing Danger of Serious Flooding

South China's Guangdong Province was facing the threat of serious flooding as two swollen rivers converged in the Pearl River Delta on Monday [16 June], resulting in a flood equivalent to a worst in 50 years.

The runoff in Xijiang River was 46,800 cubic meters per second and in Beijiang River 15,200 cubic meters per second before they met each other in Foshan City, according to the Guangdong provincial headquarters of flood control and drought relief, which said this was far higher than normal.

The danger of serious flooding is made worse by the pull from the moon, which is rising to its most powerful point in the month on Wednesday, posing a threat for river embankments across the delta, experts said.

More rains were forecast in the upstream areas of Xijiang and Beijiang Rivers in next two days.

The Guangdong provincial flood control headquarters on Monday ordered local governments to reinforce river embankments in nine cities, including Guangzhou and to prepare to evacuate people in danger.

The Pearl River Delta is a major manufacturing base of the country, while Guangdong posted a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than 2.59 trillion yuan (375 billion US dollars) in 2006, ranking the first on the Chinese mainland.

Recent rainstorms and floods have affected 5.76 million people in 17 cities in Guangdong, including 20 deaths and eight missing persons.

At least 57 people have been killed and 1.27 million people relocated as rainstorms and floods ravaged nine provinces and region in south China, authorities said on Sunday.