Floods in China: Nearly 2 million displaced in Shanxi province

More than 1.76 million people have been affected by severe flooding in northern China’s Shanxi province, local media reported. Heavy rains last week caused homes to collapse and trigger landslides in more than 70 districts and cities across the province.

Heavy rains hampered rescue efforts, officials said. The flooding comes less than three months after heavy rains killed more than 300 people in Henan province. The China Meteorological Administration also told local media that heavy and prolonged rains and storms made rescue efforts difficult.

Authorities told Xinhua news agency that more than 120,000 people had been urgently relocated and 17,000 homes collapsed in Shanxi province. Four police officers were killed in the landslide, according to the state-run Global Times, although no other casualties were disclosed. The newspaper added that the flooding in Shanxi may have been worse than the flooding in Henan earlier this year.

Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, received an average of 185.6 mm of rainfall last week, compared to the 25 mm that fell in October between 1981 and 2010.

Rescuers in Taiyuan reportedly used megaphones to tell people in distress, “Keep children overhead, the elderly and women have priority when coming ashore. Don’t panic, everyone will be rescued.”

Shanxi is a major coal-mining province, and because of the rain, the Chinese government has been forced to shut down mines and chemical plants.

China was already facing power shortages, leading to power outages. The government has limited the use of electricity in ports and factories.

Local authorities said they have suspended production at 60 coal mines, 372 non-coal mines and 14 hazardous chemical plants in the province.

Work had already been suspended at 27 other coal mines on Oct. 4.

Shanxi is also home to many ancient monuments that are threatened by heavy rains.

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