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China steps up disaster control amid wetter flood season

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BEIJING — Heavy floods have hit many parts of China since the start of the flood season due to severe rainfall this year, and preparations should be made for flood control in autumn, an official said on Aug 27.

A total of 585 rivers in 25 provincial-level regions were struck by floods above the alarm level, up 31 percent and 52 percent from those of the same period in 2017 and 2018, Ye Jianchun, vice-minister of water resources said at a press conference.

China suffered from stronger rainfall during the flood season this year compared with the same period of previous years, with 32 times as much torrential rain hitting the country, the second-highest since torrential rain was first recorded in 2013, said Ye.

In addition, four typhoons landed in China this year, including Typhoon Lekima, the ninth and strongest of the year, which brought total precipitation of more than 153 billion cubic meters and affected a large part of the country, the vice minister said.

Ye also warned of the possibility of floods in autumn this year. Experts should be organized to strengthen guidance on flood prevention skills and efforts should be made to enhance information sharing with meteorology and emergency management departments to prevent flood-related disasters, he said.

Droughts affected 3.67 million hectares of crops this year and led to a temporary water shortage impacting 1.16 million people, less severe than usual, Ye added.