(CTN News) – Heavy rains Thursday had pushed water levels in the Pearl River delta to their highest in almost a century, causing record floods in parts of southern China.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from the worst-hit parts of the region, which includes Guangdong province, home to China’s tech capital Shenzhen.
Earlier this week, the Chinese ministry of water resources issued its highest flood alert for the Pearl River basin, indicating that water levels in one area “surpassed historical records” and that the provincial capital Guangzhou would be affected.
Water reached the tops of cars in some areas of Shaoguan, north of Guangzhou, on Wednesday as residents navigated flooded main roads.
People were seen clearing debris from shops and buildings inundated with muddy floodwater.
There are several smaller, densely populated cities with major manufacturing and other industries along the low-lying Pearl River delta, including Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
It was estimated earlier this week that direct economic losses totaled 1.7 billion yuan ($253 million).
Water levels have exceeded those recorded in 1931 and are approaching those recorded in 1915.
At-risk areas in Guangdong must suspend factory work and close schools to minimize damage under the highest alert level.
Many other regions in southern China have also been affected by record rains this month, including Fujian province and Guangxi.
As a result of climate change, summer floods have become more extreme in China in recent years.
As of yet, Chinese authorities have not directly linked climate change to this year’s floods.
Water levels have exceeded those recorded in 1931 and are approaching the worst floods of 1915, according to some local media.
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