Heavy rainfall is continuing to batter large parts of the country, triggering mudslides and flooding roads. The rain belt stretches from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the northwest to Fujian Province and Taiwan in the East.
In Xinjiang, 16 people have been confirmed dead and 12 remain missing after a mudslide on Tuesday morning. Hundreds of policemen and firefighters have been involved in the rescue efforts. They say the possibilities of the missing people being found alive are low.
Further south, in Yunnan province, mudslides hit Pu’er city, with at least 4 people dead, and another 14 missing. Meanwhile, Typhoon Saola is moving towards southeastern coastal regions. It’s moving at a slow speed but gaining force. James Kim takes a look.
Jing Gu county in Pu’er city has suffered severe mudslides since Tuesday. Rivers have seen its flow reach 800 times their normal level. More than 30,000 residents have been forced to evacuate and many houses been destroyed. The Yunnan provincial government has launched a level-three disaster response, and rescue teams have rushed to the worst-hit regions.
Meanwhile in the northwest, a mudslide at an iron ore mine buried 28 people, including 22 mine workers and six local residents on Tuesday in Xinyuan County, Xinjiang. Rescue work has been hampered by narrow, steep roads. Rescue crews say the nearby mountains remained unstable and more mudslides are likely to occur at any time.
Flood control challenges remain high along the Yellow River, with the third flood peak forming on Wednesday night. And the first and second flood peak is still moving downstream. In response, dams along the river are discharging water at full tilt, to reduce the flooding.
In the southeast, coastal regions are bracing for the ninth typhoon this year. Typhoon Saola is expected to make landfall on Thursday night or Friday morning. Also drawing closer is typhoon Damrey. The two storms will have a combined effect on coastal regions in the coming days. Local authorities in Fujian say the province is preparing for possible landslides and flooding.
Zeng Yindong, Fujian Maritime Forecast Station, said, “Precautionary work has to be done in time, because the typhoon will cause a great water level surge. Also, all ships have to return to harbor and authorities at all levels are on standby.”
More than 8,000 people have been evacuated so far. And text messages have been sent out to millions of people, warning them of the typhoon. Residents are bracing themselves for the strong rains and winds ahead.