In what has been described as the heaviest rainfall in a decade, Beijing, China, faced deadly downpours that resulted in devastating landslides, floods, and the loss of lives and property. The torrential rains were triggered by the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri, which wreaked havoc over parts of northern China.
A City Underwater
The once calm waterways around the western outskirts of Beijing turned into raging torrents, sweeping away cars and destroying roads. Shocking videos on state television and social media showed the ferocity of the floods, with people’s homes being engulfed by water and entire streets being torn apart.
As a result of the disaster, at least 11 people lost their lives, and 27 others are reported missing, according to state broadcaster CCTV. The situation prompted the evacuation of more than 127,000 people from the city. Additionally, nine deaths were reported in other areas of northern China affected by the heavy rains.
Beijing, a sprawling megacity with a population of nearly 22 million, experienced rainfall that exceeded records. Over a 48-hour period, the city received nearly 7 inches of heaviest rainfall. It is equal to a whole month’s worth. However, in the hardest-hit western districts, the downpours were far more severe. For instance, Mentougou district noticed extra than 18 inches of rainfall, even as close by Fangshan witnessed sixteen inches.
Climate Change and the Rising Toll
The impact of the annual rains in China has been exacerbated by climate change, leading to increased frequency and destruction. Experts warn that the country faces typhoons and heavy rains during the summer months. The devastating floods in Zhengzhou, central Henan province, in 2021 resulted in the deaths of at least 300 people.
Stranded and Desperate
Among the severely affected areas was Zhuozhuo in Hebei province, adjacent to Beijing, where over 300 people were stranded in a residential building. The floods reached the second floor of the tower, leaving residents without drinking water, electricity, or gas.
Relief Efforts and Ongoing Threats
Chinese chief Xi Jinping has ordered seek and rescue efforts to be intensified. However, even as Typhoon Doksuri tapers off, the country faces the incoming threat of Typhoon Khanun, projected to hit China’s eastern Zhejiang province, bringing storm tides and further challenges.
A City Grappling with Tragedy
The recent heaviest rainfall and flooding in Beijing have caused immense devastation, impacting lives, homes, and infrastructure. The loss of lives and the scale of destruction serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need for climate change mitigation and disaster preparedness measures in the region.