5.5 million people affected by natural disasters in SW China

More than 5.5 million people in southwest China’s Guizhou province have been affected by droughts, rainstorms and hailstorms so far this year, local authorities announced Tuesday.

Droughts, rainstorms and hailstorms in Guizhou have inflicted direct economic losses of 1.8 billion yuan (283.6 million U.S. dollars), according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.

A severe drought hit Guizhou in early May, bringing dry and hot weather to more than 10 counties and cities in the province’s southwestern and northern regions.

On May 22, six people were killed and five others injured after heavy rains swept the province, according to the provincial civil affairs department.

The department said thousands of houses were damaged and hundreds of homes had completely collapsed during the heavy rains. Just over 600 people were relocated to avoid flood risks during the two-day downpour, which began on May 21.

The local meteorological department predicted that the rains will continue from June to early July and may result in floods and landslides.

Droughts will occur in midwestern and eastern Guizhou from late July to early August, the department said.

Xinhua