BEIJING (AP) — A vast swath of northeastern China is threatened by flooding as at least 90 rivers have risen above warning levels and 24 have already overflowed their banks, state media reported Tuesday.
Crews are standing by to defend homes and farmland across the Songliao Basin north of Beijing, which encompasses more than 1.2 million square kilometers (482,200 square miles).
The area includes parts of four provinces and several major cities with a total population of almost 100 million. Tens of thousands have already been moved to safety.
Reservoirs have been partly drained and overflow areas prepared to handle the high waters, the reports said. Ten rivers are already running at historically high levels, they said.
Much of China is having a particularly damp summer, with 142 people killed by flooding in July and dozens more this month.
In the western city of Xi’an, the death toll from a landslide rose by three to 24 on Tuesday with three others still missing. Rescue teams totaling 980 people with dogs were continuing the search.
The mudslide and a flash flood Friday evening also damaged a highway and knocked out power to 900 households.
Parts of China suffer heavy rains and flooding every summer, but this year other areas have also been affected, including the capital, Beijing. That’s partly the result of two massive typhoons that battered Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
Beijing avoided more severe damage by diverting water into neighboring Hebei province, drawing the ire of residents there whose crops and homes were heavily damaged.
China’s deadliest and most destructive floods in recent history were in 1998, when 4,150 people died, most of them along the Yangtze River but also many along the Nen and Songhua rivers in the Songliao Basin.
In 2021, more than 300 people died in flooding in the central province of Henan. Record rainfall inundated the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, turning streets into rushing rivers and flooding a subway line, trapping passengers in the cars.