China warns of ‘multiple natural disasters’ in July

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Chinese authorities have warned of extreme weather and “multiple natural disasters” in the coming month, as heavy rain in parts of the country led to thousands being evacuated.

An alert was in place on Tuesday for rain-triggered disasters in large swathes of central and southwestern China, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

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Meteorological authorities have warned the country will face “multiple natural disasters in July, including floods, severe convection weather, typhoons and high temperatures”, Xinhua said.

Dozens of homes and roads were damaged in northwest China’s Shaanxi province during “once-in-fifty-years” torrential rains over the weekend, the Communist Party-owned Chongqing Daily said Monday.

More than 10,000 people in central Hunan province were evacuated from floods last week that damaged more than 2,000 homes, provincial officials said on Sunday.

Chinese media published footage of cars drifting down a flooded road in Hunan last week, and murky torrents gushing past apartment blocks and shops.

Scientists say rising global temperatures -- caused largely by burning fossil fuels -- are aggravating extreme weather worldwide, and many countries in Asia have experienced deadly heatwaves and record temperatures in recent weeks.

China is the world’s largest emitter of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change, responsible for roughly a quarter of all current carbon pollution.

The country has set a target of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality 30 years later.

The floods coincided with record heat waves in other parts of China, with the country’s National Meteorological Center warning residents in the capital Beijing and a dozen other regions to stay indoors with temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius.

China recorded an average of 4.1 days each month in the first half of this year in which the mercury exceeded 35 degrees, the highest since national records began in 1961, according to a National Meteorological Center statement on Sunday.

In June, Beijing sweltered through a total of 14 days of temperatures exceeding 35 degrees, matching the record set in July 2000, according to the state-run Beijing Evening News.

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