Half a million evacuated as China braces for more flooding

37 people have reportedly died so far as heavy rain sweeps across southern China

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The Independent Online

Flooding in southern China killed 37 people and displaced nearly half a million in the last week, according to a statement released by the Chinese government today as it prepared for worse.

Thousands were rescued from their homes in southern China as local weather bureau authorities predicted the flooding to continue over the week.

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Guangdong province, a manufacturing hub near Hong Kong, has reported 19 deaths alone.

The city recorded 80 per cent of their May average rainfall earlier this month, with 193mm falling in just 24 hours.

This ITN footage shows the rescue operations underway as thousands struggle to cope with the massive deluge. In one incident residents cling to a crane as they are lifted away from the encroaching waters.

An estimated 25,000 homes have been destroyed by the rising waters as over 440,000 people flee affected areas.

Earlier this month rainstorms deluged Guangzhou, Zhaoqing and Qingyuan cities, in the first wave of extreme weather hit the area.

Chaos erupted as sixteen national and provincial highways were closed, impeding rescue efforts as Chinese authorities worked to deliver relief to the affected areas.

The scenes are an eerie foreshadowing of the worst flood in China’s recent history. In 1998 over 4,000 people died along China’s biggest waterway the Yangtze River, 15 million were made homeless and the economic loss was totalled to be around $26 billion.

Since then the construction of the Three Gorges Dam has mostly prevented the Yangtze flooding, however, heavy rain can create serious issues in south and north.