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China Floods Leave at Least 12 Dead, Thousands Evacuated

Sichuan province, China
Sichuan province, China

Flash floods in southwest and northwest China have left at least a dozen dead and put thousands of others in harm's way, state media reported Sunday.

In the southwestern province of Sichuan, at least six people have died and another 12 are missing after torrential rain triggered flash floods, state-owned news outlet CGTN reported.

Some 1,300 people had been evacuated as of Saturday, the report said.

Meanwhile, in Longnan city in the northwestern province of Gansu, another six deaths were reported and 3,000 people have been evacuated, state broadcaster CCTV said. Rainfall in 1-1/2 days was as much as 98.9 millimeters (3.9 inches) in the worst affected areas, almost double the July average.

The rains come amid a heat wave in parts of the country including eastern Zhejiang province and the city of Shanghai, with temperatures soaring as high as 42 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit) last week.

Experts say such extreme weather events are becoming likelier because of climate change. Warmer air can store more water, leading to bigger cloudbursts when it's released.

The flooding adds to economic woes brought on partly by stringent "zero-COVID" measures restricting travel and disrupting supply chains.

China is not the only country experiencing extreme weather this summer. In Germany, low water levels in the Rhine due to droughts have disrupted the supply chain for commodities into the country. Heat waves have also hit the southern part of the United States, with temperatures expected to soar over 38 C (100 F) in coming days.