China is experiencing intense temperatures in the north and strong storms in the south. Chinese provinces north of the Yangtze River suffer from extreme heat waves, especially the Henan region. As a result, record usage of electricity by residents has pushed power grids over the limit.
According to Reuters, power plants are working beyond their capacity to resupply the citizens of Henan, China’s third most populous province.
The population of nearly 100 million people had a peak demand of 65.34 million kilowatts on Sunday, June 19. But the heat will likely worsen in late July and early August when peak capacity is expected to rise to nearly 75 million kilowatts.
Recently, temperatures in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan, have reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
China’s meteorological administration said high temperatures have also led to an inevitable drought in Henan, Hebei, and Shandong provinces, where ground temperatures exceed 60 degrees Celsius.
South China Morning Post reported that the growing demand for electricity and rising coal and gas prices created China’s worst energy crisis.
At the same time that the northern part of China is suffering from a severe drought, the southern part of China is being devastated by heavy storms with severe flooding and landslides, according to Reuters. Houses and cars were swept away by flooded rivers in two cities in southwest China’s Guizhou province.
Moreover, since May, cities in the Pearl River area covering Guangdong and parts of Guangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, and Yunnan have suffered disastrous flooding. And in early June, a tornado swept through parts of Guangzhou, reported Reuters.
Due to the storms, eight people were killed when two buildings collapsed due to landslides in Fujian province; in Yunnan, another five died, and three were missing after a factory collapsed. In the Guangxi region, three children were swept away by floods, and only one survived, reported ABC.
In Hunan, the rice-growing province, in the first week of June, floods left ten people dead and have forced the evacuation of some 286,000 people, and more than 2,700 houses were lost as swollen rivers claimed them, South China Morning Post reported.
Jiangxi province has been suffering from the terrible deluge since May 28. At least 1.1 million residents were affected, and 223,000 hectares of agricultural land in the timber and bamboo-producing province were destroyed, reported CNN.
In early June, torrential rains in southern China killed at least 32 people, and 96,160 hectares of farmland were destroyed in the rice-growing province of Hunan, China.
Unlike this year of drought and intense heat, Henan in 2021 suffered devastating floods, where 398 people died.
“China has suffered from floods since ancient times, and about three-quarters of its land is subject to flood risks,” said Zhang Shihui, lead author of a study and a doctoral researcher at Tsinghua University. “Without better preparation for disasters caused by extreme rainfall and floods, China could become the world’s biggest flood victim in the future,” she added, reported SixthTone.
In 2021, Zhengzhou was not prepared for the floods. Officials did not warn of the five consecutive red alerts for torrential rains, nor did they suspend social gatherings, classes, or business. Floodwater rushed into tunnels of the city’s subway system, trapping hundreds of passengers and killing 12 people, according to Reuters.
According to a report, missing persons numbers were found to be false in Henan. Officials failed to report that in Zhengzhou, 116 people were missing and 41 people were not reported, Global Times reported.
Flood water covered Line 5 of the Zhengzhou Metro, one of the city’s busiest lines, where more than 500 passengers were trapped in the waters for nearly four hours. The Jinguang Tunnel was also flooded and many vehicles were trapped.
As a result, Xu Liyi, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee and Zhengzhou Party chief, was demoted and received disciplinary punishment.
According to reports, eight people were also accused of being responsible for the disaster, and 89 people who held public office were sanctioned with administrative and party discipline.
The report revealed that Zhengzhou did not have a prevention plan, and that it has only 2,400 km of storm sewers, half of what a city of its size should have, and that it does not even have facilities to drain flooding in subways, tunnels and other parts of the city.
In addition, much information was withheld and officials announced erroneous figures on the death toll, announcing that 99 people died, when in fact the figure was as high as 302 dead and 50 missing, reported The Guardian.
Investigators also exposed that 23 people died in landslides and floods in Xingyang and five in an explosion caused by flooding at the Dengfeng power plant. Local CCP officials were found to have failed to truthfully report the cause of the deaths and illegally used reconstruction subsidy funds to compensate the families of the deceased,” an official said.
The negligent actions of local officials exacerbated the disaster and the number of deaths that could have been avoided. Will the CCP have acted correctly this year with an emergency plan to take care of the people?