Heavy rain in rural Tibet leaves hundreds stranded

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Hundreds of people were trapped in rural Tibet in recent days after heavy rainfall caused floods and landslides, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday.

At least 472 people, including local residents and tourists from outside the area, were trapped outside Chentang Township in the Shigatse area, state broadcaster CCTV said.

China is battling extreme weather across the country this summer, with the national weather agency expecting extreme heat to persist for much of the season.

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Swathes of northern China have already been baked by heat waves this summer, while unseasonably torrential rains have triggered deadly floods and landslides across much of the south.

Climate change driven by human-emitted greenhouse gases makes extreme weather events more frequent and intense, and China is the world’s biggest emitter.

Continuous rainfall since Saturday in Tibet had left roads damaged, and “power and communications in the area of Chentang Township was cut off,” according to CCTV.

Footage published by the broadcaster showed murky water tumbling down rocky hillsides, and large groups of people trekking along crumbled roads.

Large parts of one road appeared to have fallen into a river, while another one was covered in debris from a landslide.

CCTV said rescuers had been working for four days, and had successfully relocated 342 of the stranded people to nearby urban areas.

“Additionally, more than 130 tourists from outside this area, migrant workers and merchants remain temporarily stranded there due to road disruptions, rainy weather and insufficient physical ability to walk long distances,” CCTV said.

An emergency communications network has now been set up in the area, according to the broadcaster.

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