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China has evacuated more than 100,000 people as heavy rain continues to lash the southern province of Guangdong.

Authorities raised the highest level of alarm on Tuesday as the storms showed no sign of letting up. Flooding has already killed four people, with another 10 reported missing, in just the latest episode of extreme weather to hit China as climate change affects the country.

Torrential rains have been swelling rivers in Guangdong, prompting state media to warn of the risk of floods at a level “seen around once a century”.

Footage from across Guangdong showed flooded villages, farmland and cities, along with collapsed bridges and floating vehicles. In addition to the 110,000 people who have been evacuated, at least 25,000 are in emergency shelters.

In the provincial capital, Guangzhou, authorities have registered cumulative rainfall of 609mm in April so far, which is already the highest monthly volume since record-keeping began in 1959.

The sustained torrent has hit the Pearl River Delta region, a manufacturing hub and one of the country’s most populated regions, for close to a week.

Home to some 127 million people, the region usually sees heavy rains in about September. It has been experiencing more intense and more frequent rainstorms and floods in recent years.

“Please quickly take precautions and stay away from dangerous areas such as low-lying areas prone to flooding,” authorities in the coastal city of Shenzhen – China’s third largest – said as the red alert was issued.

A United Nations report released on Tuesday noted that Asia was the region hardest hit by climate change in 2023, with floods and storms at the top of the list of factors causing casualties and economic losses.

Scientists warn of increasingly extreme weather conditions as climate change driven by human-emitted greenhouse gases makes extreme weather events more frequent and intense. China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The China Meteorological Administration said in a report last November that 72 national weather stations registered record daily rainfall and 346 stations broke monthly records during the last flood season.

Meanwhile, the country has also suffered drought and intense heatwaves in recent months.



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