China deployed military helicopters on Tuesday to deliver supplies to stranded train passengers in Beijing, state media reported, after deadly rainstorms wreaked havoc in the capital.
Storm Doksuri, a former super typhoon, has swept northwards over China since Friday, when it hit southern Fujian province after scything through the Philippines.
Heavy rains began battering the city and surrounding areas on Saturday, with nearly the average rainfall for the entire month of July dumped on Beijing in just 40 hours.
At least two people died from floods in Beijing on Monday, while another two casualties were reported in northeastern Liaoning over the weekend.
On Tuesday, a military unit of 26 soldiers and four helicopters launched an “airdrop rescue mission” to deliver hundreds of food packages and ponchos to people stranded in and around a train station in Beijing’s hard-hit Mentougou district, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
“On July 31, areas in Beijing including Fangshan and Mentougou suffered serious damage from water, causing three trains to get trapped on their routes, and road traffic in some areas was completely cut off,” CCTV reported.
On Tuesday morning, the broadcaster was running live images of a row of buses half submerged in floodwater in Beijing’s southwest Fangshan neighbourhood.
Around 150,000 households in Mentougou had no running water, the local Communist Party newspaper Beijing Daily said on Tuesday, with 45 water tankers dispatched to offer emergency supplies.
Local media on Monday published footage of chaotic scenes on high-speed rail trains stranded on tracks for as long as 30 hours, with passengers complaining that they had run out of food and water.
Beijing and neighbouring Hebei province were on red alert overnight for rainstorms, with meteorological authorities warning of potential flash floods and landslides.
The city activated a flood control reservoir on Monday for the first time since it was built in 1998, the Beijing Daily said.
In Handan, Hebei province, rescuers lifted by crane reached a man trapped in his car in floodwaters on Sunday, lifting him to safety before the car was flipped and washed away by the current.
China has been experiencing extreme weather and posting record temperatures this summer, which scientists say are exacerbated by climate change.
According to local media, experts had warned that the downpour could prompt even worse flooding than in July 2012, when 79 people were killed and tens of thousands evacuated.
The country is already preparing for the arrival of another typhoon – Khanun, the sixth such storm of the year – as it nears China’s east coast.
China and Japan are both facing severe weather conditions, with China experiencing deadly rainstorms and Japan bracing for a powerful typhoon.
In China, the storm Doksuri, a former super typhoon, has caused heavy rains that have led to flooding in the capital, Beijing.
The city and neighbouring Hebei province were both placed on red alert for rainstorms overnight, while a military unit of 26 soldiers and four helicopters launched an “airdrop rescue mission” on Tuesday to deliver supplies to stranded train passengers in Beijing’s Mentougou district.
The storms have caused at least four deaths and disruption to transport, with footage emerging of high-speed trains stranded on tracks for up to 30 hours.
Experts have warned that the downpour could lead to even worse flooding than in July 2012, when 79 people were killed and tens of thousands evacuated.
Around 150,000 households in Mentougou have had their running water disrupted, with 45 water tankers dispatched to provide emergency supplies. The Beijing Daily reported that the city had activated a flood control reservoir for the first time since it was built in 1998.
China has experienced extreme weather and record temperatures this summer, with scientists attributing the phenomena to climate change. The country is bracing for the arrival of another typhoon, Khanun, as it nears China’s east coast. Khanun is expected to be the sixth typhoon to hit China this year.
Days after Doksuri slammed the Philippines, Taiwan, and China, Typhoon Khanun has emerged and triggered the cancellation of hundreds of flights and prompted officials to urge thousands of people to seek shelter in Japan.
The typhoon is packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 162 kilometres per hour as it crosses the Pacific Ocean and is expected to start battering the Okinawa region late on Tuesday.
Cities across Okinawa have issued non-mandatory evacuation orders to at least 370,000 people as the Japan Meteorological Agency warned waves of up to 12 metres high could pommel the group of islands.
The agency described the storm as “very strong” and “large” and reported that it was about 240 kilometres southeast of the regional capital of Naha.
Officials in Naha have urged vulnerable residents to move to more secure locations in anticipation of strong winds and heavy rain. “Many people stay at home because their houses are concrete,” a disaster management official at the Okinawa regional government told AFP, speaking anonymously.
“But we are asking people who live alone or in wooden houses in low-lying areas to consider seeking shelter before the typhoon gets bad.” More than 500 flights were cancelled on Tuesday, while regional ferry and bus services were suspended before the typhoon.
Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said more than 74,000 passengers in total would be affected by flight cancellations on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The extreme weather conditions come as climate change continues to present an ever-growing threat to countries around the world.
In July, the World Meteorological Organisation warned that the world was experiencing some of the highest temperatures on record, with extreme weather events causing significant damage and disruption in a range of locations.
The WMO said that 2017 was set to be one of the three hottest years on record. Climate change has also been linked to the recent flooding in India, which has affected more than 40 million people in the northeast of the country.
The flooding has caused more than 1,000 deaths so far, with further fatalities expected.
– With AFP