China: Floods - Information Bulletin no 2

Typhoons Saola, Damrey and more recently Haikui have brought the heaviest rains to northern and southern provinces along China’s eastern coast since the beginning of August. The heaviest hit provinces include Liaoning province in the northeast, Hebei in the north, central Hubei province, southeast Fujian province, Shandong, Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces along the eastern region and Shanghai which sits along the central eastern coast and through China’s eastern coastal regions. As of 9 August, 40 people have been confirmed dead and 13 others remained missing. A total of 2,553,000 people have been forced to relocate and/or are in grave need of daily necessities.

The headquarters of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) initiated different levels of emergency response in affected provinces and sent relief supplies including quilts, tents, clothes, family kits from local disaster preparedness warehouses to help the vulnerable residents in flood-hitting areas. The provincial branches have been responding in preparation and in response to these disasters, initiating their contingency plans immediately upon the landing of each typhoon and dispatching teams to provide needed assistance to affected communities with relief supplies, emergency funds and volunteer support services to those in need.

The situation

Typhoon Damrey made landfall in east China's Jiangsu province on Thursday night (2 August), bringing center winds reaching highest speeds of 35m/s and dumping rains at 50mm in Jiangsu and neighbouring Shandong province, forcing more than 292,600 people to evacuate to schools, relatives’ houses etc. A total of 27,315 houses collapsed and another 27,050 were damaged in 122 villages in Shandong province.

As of 8 August, 25 people had been confirmed dead and nine remained missing due to heavy rains brought in by Typhoon Saola to 20 counties and districts in central China's Hubei province. Rainstorms and rain-triggered mudslides have destroyed nearly 9,708 houses and damaged at least 36,726 others, according to the figures from the provincial Red Cross Branch. Over 135,000 local residents have been forced to relocate or are in grave need of daily necessities.

In the northeastern province of Liaoning and the northern province of Hebei, millions of people were affected by floods caused by Typhoon Damrey. At least nine people have died and another four remained missing in Liaoning. Nearly 1.46 million people of 43 counties and urban districts in 10 cities of Liaoning were affected by heavy rains and floods. The average rainfall of the entire province reached 78.6mm, leaving 148 reservoirs above the warning level. More than 10,000 houses collapsed and about 17,000 houses were damaged, forcing 138,000 people to evacuate. Nearly 70,000 hectares of crops were also damaged, with direct economic losses reaching 2.36 billion yuan (USD 370.4 million). It also temporarily disrupted rail services within the province. People had to wait or were able to refund train tickets without any extra expenses. In Hebei, about 2.33 million people were affected by the disaster, including one dead, one missing and 151,000 people who were relocated to evacuation centers. About 9,400 houses were destroyed in the flooding. On 4 August, the provincial meteorological bureau released a “yellow” typhoon alarm, indicating the third level of warning.

The most recent and severe Typhoon Haikui landed on the coast of eastern China, affecting Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces early Wednesday morning (8 August). The typhoon was moving northwest at 10 to 15 km per hour and reached speeds up to 115 km per hour near the city’s coast. The local Meteorological Bureaus raised the typhoon alarm to red, the highest level of warning. In Anhui, heavy downpours with the cumulative rainfall of 600mm have left one dead and affected more than 1.76 million people in the province, including 163,000 people who had to be relocated. Moreover, more than 1,500 houses collapsed and 80,000 hectares of cropland were affected by the downpours, resulting in direct economic losses of 880 million yuan (138.36 million U.S. dollars). Heavy downpours left three people dead and 1,546,000 people relocated as of Thursday (9 August) in Zhejiang province. Two people died and seven others were injured by rain-triggered accidents in Shanghai. A total of 370,000 people who live in port areas or temporary houses were evacuated. In the four provinces, Typhoon Haikui has affected more than six million people and destroyed 7,561 houses and 388,180 hectares of cropland.