BEIJING (AP) — Flooding in central China continued to cause havoc in both cities and rural areas, with authorities saying Friday that another 21 people had been killed and another four were missing.
Floodwaters rose to 3.5 meters (11.4 feet) in Hubei province’s Liulin township following heavy rains that began Wednesday.
The latest deaths add to the more than 300 people killed in flooding last month in Henan province just to the north. The vast majority of those victims were in Zhengzhou, Henan’s provincial capital, where at least 292 died, including 14 who were trapped when the city’s subway system was inundated.
The new Hubei floods have been relatively small in comparison, with just over 8,000 people affected, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
China regularly suffers seasonal flooding, but this year has been particularly severe with torrential rains reaching from the center of the country as far north as Beijing. The floods come on top of efforts to contain an outbreak of the delta variant of COVID-19 that has particularly affected Henan and the eastern province of Jiangsu.
China’s worst floods in recent years were in 1998, when more than 2,000 people were killed and almost 3 million homes were destroyed, mostly along China’s mightiest river, the Yangtze.
Direct losses from this summer’s flooding are estimated at more than $14 billion.