At least fifteen people have died and four missing after a heavy rain lashed the metropolis of Chongqing and swathes of southwestern China, local officials disclosed on Wednesday.
China has been hit for weeks by extreme weather from heavy rains with intense heat waves, the frequency of which is increasing as global temperatures soar.
Residents in the capital Beijing and dozens of other areas have been warned to stay indoors as temperatures soar past 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
And in one of the deadliest natural disasters to occur in China so far this year, torrential rains in Chongqing this week “killed 15 people and left four others missing”, local authorities disclosed
“The heavy rains, mainly seen in the areas along the Yangtze River, have triggered floods and geological disasters, disrupting the lives of more than 130,000 people in 19 districts and counties,” state-run news agency Xinhua said.
However, posts on social media on Tuesday showed torrents of muddy water in Chongqing’s heavily affected Wanzhou District overflowing embankments and pieces of debris being swept away.
The rescue emergency responders have being helping residents evacuate flooded residential buildings.
On the outskirts of Chongqing, workers on Tuesday discovered that a closed-off railway bridge had collapsed after it was “damaged by the impact of mountain torrents”,
The government dispatched a working group to Chongqing early on Wednesday morning to oversee disaster relief efforts.
More is still to come, with officials warning that China is set to face “multiple natural disasters in July, including floods, severe convection weather, typhoons and high temperatures”.
In response, President Xi Jinping has ordered that “authorities at all levels must give top priority to ensuring people’s safety and property”, Xinhua said Wednesday.
China’s finance ministry has issued 320 million yuan ($44.2 million) in disaster relief to affected regions, which it said would be used by local governments to boost emergency search and rescue efforts.