China floods: 100,000 evacuated, Leshan Buddha threatened | News | DW | 19.08.2020

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China floods: 100,000 evacuated, Leshan Buddha threatened

Torrential rainfalls hit parts of China causing rising water levels and landslides. Worst hit was the western Sichuan province, where 100,000 people living on the Yangtze river were ordered to leave their homes.

Heavy seasonal rains wreaked havoc along the Yangtze river and across China, according to reports on Wednesday.

Some 100,000 people have been evacuated from the cities of Leshan and Ya'an, in worst-hit Sichuan province, as water levels rose and concerns grew over safety.

Flood waters also threatened UNESCO world heritage site, the Leshan Buddha – a 71-meter (233-foot) -tall statue carved into the side of a mountain that overlooks three converging rivers.

Floods had not reached the Buddha's feet since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, reported state broadcaster CCTV.

Over 1,000 people were stranded in Fengzhou county, opposite the Buddha. Food and water is scarce after floodwaters cut off road traffic, before soldiers moved in to rescue residents.

People rowing past houses in a boat

Soldiers had to evacuate tens of thousands

Bad weather across China

In Hubei province, east of Sichuan, authorities warned the giant Three Gorges Dam – also on the Yangtze – was facing the largest flood peak in its history.

In southwestern China, the sprawling Chongqing municipality in southwest China, where the Yangtze and Jialing rivers meet, experienced its worst flooding since 1981.

Swollen Tuojiang River

The swollen Tuojiang River in Sichuan province

Overnight, typhoon Higos drenched Hong Kong before making landfall in Zhuhai, a city in southern China's Guangdong province. It sustained maximum winds of 126 kilometers (78 miles) per hour, China's National Meteorological Center said.

Five people went missing in Yunnan province after a landslide destroyed two houses, reported the state-owned People's Daily newspaper.

Plagued by floods

Flooding has left more than 200 people dead or missing in China this year and caused $25 billion (€20.9 billion) in damage, authorities said last week.

Since June, more than 38 million people across the country had been affected by the severe weather, reported CCTV, citing Vice Minister of Emergency Management Zheng Guoguang.

kmm/ng (AP, AFP)