Flash floods in southwestern and northwestern China have caused at least a dozen people dead and put thousands more at risk, according to state-run Chinese media.
At least six people were reported dead and 12 missing in southwest China’s Sichuan province after heavy rains triggered flooding, and 1,300 people needed to be evacuated. Another six people later died and 3,000 were evacuated in the city of Longnan in northwestern Gansu province.
In the worst affected areas, up to 98.9 mm of rain had fallen in a day and a half, almost twice the average for July.
The rainfall comes amid a heatwave in parts of China, including eastern Zhejiang province and Shanghai, where temperatures soared to 42 degrees Celsius last week.
Experts say that such extreme weather events are becoming more likely due to climate change.
Warmer air leads to increased water content in the clouds, resulting in larger cloudbursts which release extreme amounts of rain over a very short period, potentially leading to flooding.
For decades, under Communist China’s ambitious urbanization program, millions of rural people have been moving from farm to city. The pursuit of economic development has made it the world’s largest polluter, emitting more greenhouse gasses than all developed countries combined. The devastation and disruptions caused by the greenhouse gasses already emitted is likely to continue in the coming years.