Chinese leader Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of taking measures to address the severe consequences of this year’s devastating flooding in China. The flooding has resulted in numerous casualties and extensive damage to crops, homes, and infrastructure, particularly in and around Beijing.
According to state media, approximately 90 rivers have surpassed warning levels, with 24 already overflowing their banks. This poses a significant threat to northeastern China, specifically the Songliao Basin located north of the capital. This vast region spans over 1.2 million square kilometers (482,200 square miles) and is home to almost 100 million people.
“As China is currently in the peak of flood season, various areas across the country continue to experience frequent rainstorms, floods, and typhoons,” summarized Xinhua News Agency following a meeting held on Thursday, presided over by Xi and attended by the party’s Politburo Standing Committee.
During the meeting, attendees emphasized the utmost importance of prioritizing the safety of individuals and their property in all affected localities. They also stressed the necessity of continuous efforts in flood prevention and disaster relief.
The reinforcement of dams and the efficient allocation of disaster relief funds are crucial measures to restore damaged infrastructure relating to transportation, communication, and electricity. Additionally, restoring farmland and agricultural facilities is of utmost importance.
Swift restoration of schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and damaged housing is essential to ensure affected residents can either return to their homes or find suitable alternatives before winter arrives.
Flooding Continues to Ravage China
The recent flooding in China has caused widespread devastation in the central and eastern regions of the country, impacting both the semi-tropical south and the northern plains.
The unusually wet summer has resulted in numerous casualties, with 142 people losing their lives due to flooding in July alone. Unfortunately, the death toll continues to rise this month.
Meteorologists have issued warnings about the impending thunderstorms, gales, and hail that are expected to affect several provinces in the north, including Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Hebei, Beijing, and Tianjin. Additionally, areas in the center and southeast such as Henan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian are also at risk.
To ensure safety amidst these severe weather conditions, residents have been strongly advised to limit their outdoor activities and seek shelter.
The occurrence of this inclement weather coincides with a decline in economic growth. The data reveals that in the three months ending in June, economic growth plummeted to 0.8%, down from 2.2% in January-March. In annual terms, this rate corresponds to a meager 3.2%, marking one of China’s weakest growth rates in decades.
Furthermore, a survey conducted in June highlights a surge in unemployment among urban workers aged 16 to 24, reaching a record-breaking rate of 21.3%. Interestingly, the statistics bureau recently announced their decision to withhold updates on unemployment figures as they refine their measurement methodology.
These remarks were delivered just hours after data from July revealed a continued weakening of consumer and factory activity. Despite official promises to support struggling entrepreneurs, the government has refrained from providing any updates on the politically sensitive issue of youth unemployment.