Title: China’s Flood Control Situation Stable Despite Low Precipitation, Says Officials
Date: July 25, 2023
The Ministry of Emergency Management and the Ministry of Water Resources have announced that China has entered the critical period of flood control during the “seven downs and eight ups,” and the current flood control and drought relief situation in the country is generally stable.
According to Wang Daoxi, deputy minister of the Ministry of Emergency Management and deputy minister of the Ministry of Water Resources, the overall precipitation across the country has been relatively low, with significant variations in spatial distribution. The national average precipitation since the beginning of the year has been 10% lower than in normal years. However, certain regions such as southwestern North China, eastern Northwest China, and northeastern China have experienced precipitation ranging from 20% to 100% higher than normal.
Despite the low precipitation, the flood situation of major rivers remains stable. The number of small and medium-sized rivers exceeding the warning level is lower than in previous years, and no numbered floods have occurred in major rivers. The water levels of the Yangtze River, Dongting Lake, and Poyang Lake are even the lowest in history.
Wang Daoxi stated that compared to the average value of the same period in the past five years, flood-related indicators have shown a downward trend. The number of people affected by floods has decreased by 4.9%, and deaths, missing persons, emergency transfers, and economic losses have also significantly declined. In terms of drought disasters, the number of people affected and the area of crops affected have decreased by more than 40% and 50%, respectively.
However, officials have warned that the flood control and drought relief situation during the main flood season remains complex. Extreme weather events, such as heavy rainfall, floods, high temperatures, and heatwaves, may still occur. Areas such as the tributaries of the Songhua River, the middle reaches of Heilongjiang, Yishusi in the Huaihe River Basin, Taihu Lake, Liaohe River, and the lower reaches of the Yangtze River could face large floods. Similarly, periodic droughts may occur in Inner Mongolia and Gansu.
Wang Yawei from the China Meteorological Administration highlighted the extreme and localized characteristics of recent weather patterns. The average rainfall this year has been 10.6% less than in previous years, with significant variations. Additionally, there have been multiple rounds of extreme high temperatures, with some regions experiencing the hottest June on record.
Looking ahead to August, high-temperature weather is expected to continue in the Xinjiang Basin, western Gansu, and western Inner Mongolia. The temperature in most parts of China will be close to or slightly higher than normal. Typhoon activity is also anticipated, with 4-6 tropical cyclones expected to form in the Northwest Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.
Typhoon “Dusuri” is forecasted to make landfall on the southeast coast on July 28, impacting regions such as Taiwan, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Guangdong with heavy rains. Officials advise residents to be prepared for typhoons and to remain vigilant against small and medium-sized river floods, geological disasters, urban waterlogging, and strong winds.
In recent weeks, the national comprehensive fire rescue team has been actively involved in rescue operations for urban waterlogging and geological disasters. As of July 24, they have participated in thousands of emergency rescues, saving lives and evacuating thousands of people.
As the flood season continues, it is crucial for authorities and citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events, ensuring the safety and well-being of all residents.