News / Asia

    China's Heavy Rains Blamed on Unusual Climate Patterns

    Helicopters were crucial in evacuating more than 250,000 people in China's northeastern Liaoning province days ago. Torrential rains battered the area and led to severe flooding along the border with North Korea. Weather experts and Chinese officials attribute the heavier than usual rainfall to unusual climate patterns and global warming.

    This was the latest of what has become a summer of natural disasters for China. Official media call it the country's worst flooding in a decade, leaving more than 1,500 dead and hundreds of thousands of others displaced and experts say unusual weather patterns are to blame.

    Earlier in August, heavy rains in northwestern Gansu province triggered landslides that killed more than 1,400 people and left more than 300 others missing. Rain caused smaller mudslides in southwestern China, including in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. Some of the affected areas in Sichuan were previously damaged by a massive earthquake in 2008.  

    Devastating floods also hurt farm production. Floods wiped out many rice paddies in central Hunan province, one of China's top rice-growing regions, and damaged crops in northeastern Jilin province, China's main grain-growing region.

    Dean of Hong Kong City University's School of Energy and Environment Johnny Chan said this much rain is just not normal.

    "But it is in a way expected because this is a year following an El Nino," said Chan.

    El Nino describes a climate pattern in which warmer surface temperatures of the water in the Pacific Ocean cause unusual weather around the world. The El Nino pattern showed up in 2009.

    Besides this phenomenon, Chan points to global warming, which he also blames for causing more frequent heavy rains. And, he said, heavy deforestation exacerbates the flooding problem in China.

    "What happens is that if you have very heavy deforestation, the topsoil is soft, and when it rains there are not enough trees to hold the topsoil,” he said.  “The topsoil is gone whenever it rains, so it is washed into the rivers, which makes the banks rise, and the river shallow. And as a result, when there is heavy rain, you will be likely to get flooding because the amount of water that the river can hold becomes smaller.”

    Whatever the cause, the Chinese government has mounted a massive effort to help flood victims. Many people have expressed gratitude for the rescue and recovery efforts.

    Those saved include 23-year-old Liu Li, who was heavily pregnant and stranded at her home in Liaoning. Liu says she was afraid before the rescuers arrived, and is very thankful for their help. She gave birth to a baby girl after being delivered safely to a hospital.

    The tragedy in Gansu brought Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to the worst-hit areas, to show the government's concern for the landslide victims. Mr. Wen urged the country to come together and work hard to recover from the disaster. He said the country can move forward only if the Communist party, the government, the army and the people are united.

    China's Ministry of Land and Resources blames "extreme weather" for this year's tenfold increase in geological disasters, such as landslides. August and September are the main flooding months, according to ministry officials, and there is still a possibility of more heavy rains.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora