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China goes into 'wartime mode' to fight 'flood catastrophe' with 141 people dead or missing

Multiple Chinese provinces have entered 'wartime mode' to fight what state media called a 'flood catastrophe' as torrential downpours batter the country.

By Sunday, an early rain season and 'extraordinarily' heavy rainfalls had already left 141 people dead or missing and 2.2million people evacuated, reported state-run newspaper The Global Times.

Wuhan, which has just fought the COVID-19 outbreak, raised its flood emergency response to 'alert level two' last week. Thousands of disaster-relief workers are on standby after parts of the city were inundated by rising rivers - with officials predicting the flood peak to arrive this week.

Inundated: This aerial view shows a bridge leading to the inundated Tianxingzhou island, which is set to be a flood flowing zone to relieve pressure from the high level of water in Yangtze River in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province, on July 13

Wuhan in crisis: The COVID-19 epicentre raised its flood emergency response to 'alert level two' last week. This aerial photo taken on July 12 shows a closed park due to the high water level of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province

Submerged: Thousands of disaster-relief workers are on standby in Wuhan after rising rivers inundated parts of the city. This photo taken on July 11 shows a man paddling near a flooded pavilion on the bank of the Yangtze River in Wuhan 

Flood peak to arrive: Wuhan officials warned the Yangtze could hit its third-highest levels in history in Wuhan on Thursday. This photo taken on July 12 shows residents looking at the swollen Yangtze River in Wuhan, a city of 11million

Authorities have activated emergency response to severe flooding in provinces including Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou.

Floods across large swathes of central and eastern China are hitting record levels, with authorities warning the worst was yet to come.

The coronavirus ground zero of Wuhan, through which the mighty Yangtze River winds, is on an expanding list of areas warily watching the rising waters.

Local officials warned that the Yangtze could hit its third-highest levels in history in the city of 11million on Thursday.

At a flood-fighting meeting on Sunday, Wuhan leaders described the situation as 'extremely severe'.

'Extremely severe' situation: At a flood-fighting meeting on Sunday, Wuhan leaders warned of the city's rising river levels. Officials predicted that the Yangtze River's level could reach 95.8 feet, its third-highest levels in history, on Thursday 

New way of crossing: Summer flooding has been an annual scourge in China since ancient times, often focused along the vast Yangtze basin. This photo taken on July 11 shows a man paddling near a flooded sculpture on the bank of the Yangtze River

 'Alert level two' for Wuhan: Since last week, worsening downpours have caused water levels to spike higher and the government to ramp up alert levels. Wuhan raised its flooding alert level to two in a three-tier disaster warning system

Thirty-three rivers in China have reached record highs, while alerts have been issued on a total of 433 rivers, officials from the Ministry of Water Resources said during a briefing on Monday. Pictured, Wuhan locals look at an inundated pavilion on July 12

Summer flooding has been an annual scourge in China since ancient times, often focused along the vast Yangtze basin that drains much of the central part of the country.

Steady rains since late June have flooded huge areas, leaving 141 people dead or missing so far, affecting 37.89million others and destroying 28,000 homes, according to the latest central government tallies.

The adverse weather has also caused 82.2billion yuan in economic losses, reported the Global Times. 

But worsening downpours since last week have caused water levels to spike higher and the government to ramp up alert levels.

An aerial photo taken on July 11 shows people reinforcing temporary waterproof dyke to stop the flood at Jiangjialing Village in Poyang County, east China's Jiangxi Province. Jiangxi has been one of the provinces worst-hit by floods in China this month

The worst-hit provinces were Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan in central China, Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu in the country's east, and the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing, authorities said. The above picture shows a submerged village in Jiangxi

Part of an 800-year-old bridge, Caihong Bridge, is destroyed by flood caused by continuous rainfall in Shangrao city, Jiangxi

Thirty-three rivers have reached record highs, while alerts have been issued on a total of 433 rivers, officials from the Ministry of Water Resources said during a briefing in Beijing on Monday.

Video broadcast by Chinese state-run media at the weekend showed vast stretches of cities and towns inundated by water that rose in some places to the roofs of single-story homes, as rescue personnel evacuated men, women and children aboard inflatable boats.

Elsewhere, homes were shown flattened by landslides that had tumbled from water-logged hillsides.

Steady rains since late June have flooded huge areas, leaving 141 people dead or missing so far. Pictured, rescuers evacuate villagers from a village which is submerged by Changjiang River flood due to a dike burst in Poyang, Jiangxi, on July 11

The adverse weather has also caused 82.2billion yuan in economic losses, reported state-run newspaper Global Times

Chinese paramilitary policemen form a line to move sandbags to reinforce a dyke along the banks of Poyang Lake on July 12

The worst-hit provinces were Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan in central China, Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu in the country's east, and the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing, authorities said.

Illustrating the growing alarm, President Xi Jinping on Sunday called on authorities in affected areas to mobilise to help stricken residents, urging them to be 'courageous'.

China's worst floods in recent decades came in 1998 during an El Nino weather effect, killing more than 4,000 people, mostly around the Yangtze.

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