Multiple deaths have been caused by flooding and extreme high temperatures in eastern China as summer heat descends earlier than usual. Zhejiang province, east of Shanghai, experienced record-breaking temperatures on Wednesday, topping out at 42 degrees Celsius. Coastal provinces Jiangsu and Fujian were also experiencing high temperatures, while Henan, Sichuan, and Heilongjiang saw heat stroke hospitalizations, with an as-yet unreported number of deaths.
There have also been floods in much of the country, with three people reported dead and five people missing in Sichuan province’s Pingwu county by midday Wednesday. In Heilongjiang, in the northeast, one person was reported dead and eight others missing. Extreme weather events such as these are becoming more common because of climate change, experts say.
It’s easier for water to be stored in warmer air, resulting in bigger cloudbursts when it’s released. South-central China has already been flooded, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. As a result of stringent zero-COVID-19 measures limiting travel and disrupting supply chains, economic woes are exacerbated.