Hundreds of rivers swell as China summer flood season revs up

China raises'flood-surge reaction to second-highest level

China raised its emergency response level for flood control along the Yangtze River as days of torrential rain triggered flood warnings across the country, and water levels in the middle and lower reaches of the river have been rising.

China has a four-tier flood control emergency response system, with level one representing the most severe.

Ye Jianchun, vice minister of water resources, told a briefing that 433 rivers - as well as major lakes like the Dongting, the Poyang and the Tai - have all risen beyond their warning levels since the flood season began in June.

A red alert has also been declared at the Poyang lake, where water levels are more than 3 meters higher than normal, another record high.

With downpours continuing to wreak havoc across swathes of China, several other cities along the Yangtze have issued their highest-level flood warnings, with parts of the river threatening to burst its banks because of the incessant rain.

China's weather bureau said that although some regions in the southwest would see a temporary respite from the heavy rain on Monday, central and eastern China would continue to bear the brunt of the storms.

The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River is said to be releasing less water to prevent flooding downstream.

As of Thursday afternoon, 140 people were killed or reported missing in China due to the floods, which afflicted more than 30 million people around the country, the Ministry of Emergency Management revealed on Friday.

"As of July 12, 37.9 million people have been affected as a result of floods in 27 regions, including the provinces of Jiangxi, Anhui, Hubei, and Hunan".

Together with other departments, the ministry has drafted emergency plans for disaster control and improved the alert system at all levels.

The flooding has destroyed more than 28,000 buildings and the cost of the damage has been estimated at 82.2 billion yuan ($11.7 billion).



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