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Millions are at risk of flooding in China's Guangdong province after heavy rains China

Millions are at risk of flooding in China's Guangdong province after heavy rains  China

Major rivers, waterways and reservoirs in China's Guangdong province are threatening to unleash dangerous floods, forcing the government to draw up emergency response plans to protect more than 127 million people.

Local meteorological officials, who described the situation as “bleak,” said parts of rivers and tributaries in the Xijiang and Beijiang river basins reached rare high water levels that represent only a 1 in 50 chance of occurring in any given year, the state said. CCTV news channel said on Sunday.

CCTV reported that China's Ministry of Water Resources issued an emergency warning.

Guangdong officials urged departments in all localities and municipalities to begin emergency planning to avoid natural disasters and quickly distribute relief funds and materials to ensure those affected have food, clothing, water and a place to live.

The province witnessed heavy rains for several days and strong winds due to the severe convective weather that affected many parts of China during the past few weeks.

Heavy rain fell for 12 hours, starting at 8 pm (1200 GMT) on Saturday, in the central and northern parts of the province in the cities of Zhaoqing, Shaoguan, Qingyuan and Jiangmen.

Nearly 20,000 people were evacuated in Qingyuan, according to state media, and some power facilities in Zhaoqing were damaged, leaving some places without power.

Officials in Qingyuan also suspended classes in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, according to local media.

“Please look at Huaiji District in Zhaoqing, which has become a water city. The elderly and children in the countryside don't know what to do with the power outage and no signal,” said one user on the popular social networking site Weibo.

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A video clip published by Hongxing News showed that raging, muddy floodwaters swept away a car on a narrow street in Zhaoqing.

β€œIt rained like a waterfall for an hour and a half on the highway while returning home last night,” another Weibo user said. β€œI couldn't see the road at all.”

Authorities in Qingyuan and Shaoguan in Guangdong have also stopped ships from traveling on several rivers, with maritime departments sending troops to be on duty, coordinating tug boats and emergency rescue vessels.

Meteorological officials have warned that several hydrological stations in the province are exceeding water levels, and in the provincial capital, Guangzhou, a city of 18 million people, reservoirs have reached flood limits, city officials announced Sunday.

The data showed that there were 2,609 hydrological stations with daily precipitation exceeding 50 mm (1.97 inches), representing about 59% of all monitoring stations. At 8 a.m. on Sunday, 27 hydrological stations in Guangdong were on alert.

Video footage published by official media in the neighboring Guangxi region, west of Guangdong, showed violent hurricane-like winds sweeping the area, destroying buildings. Some places also experienced hail and major flooding, CCTV said.

In another video, rescuers can be seen trying to save an elderly person clinging to a tree that is half submerged in flood waters.

State media reported that as of 10 a.m., 65 landslides had been recorded in Hezhou City, located in Guangxi Province.