China braces for more rain as floods devastate southern Guangdong province

China is reeling from heavy flooding that has killed four people and left thousands scrambling to save their belongings even as it braces for more rainfall.

The flooding in Guangdong has inundated roads, homes and businesses and forced the evacuation of over 100,000 people.

Xinhua, the state news agency, said three people died in Zhaoqing city and a rescuer in Shaoguan city. It did not say when or how they died.

After it briefly stopped raining on Wednesday, people scrambled to save their homes and belongings from floodwaters. But water levels still remain high and there more rainfall is forecast in the coming days.

People were seen wading through knee-deep water, retrieving whatever belongings they could from their damaged properties.

“The water has really risen over the last few days,” Liu Yongqi, 25, the general manager of a local homestay, told AFP news agency. “The road was flooded and for five days we could only get to the rest of the village by a small motorboat.”

“Luckily we had enough supplies here anyway,” she said, adding that the cleanup operation would take “another two or three days.”

A flooded riverside park along the Beijiang river in Qingyuan city in southern China's Guangdong (Chinatopix)
A flooded riverside park along the Beijiang river in Qingyuan city in southern China's Guangdong (Chinatopix)

In Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, the government said that by Monday the city had logged a cumulative rainfall of 60.9cm in April, the highest monthly rainfall since record-keeping began in 1959.

Up to 240mm of rain is expected in many areas, rising to as much as 300mm in some places.

Rumours about shortage of water and basic goods were spreading across the region and officials warned people against spreading them.

“In order to strengthen management of market prices during flood season… do not fabricate or spread information about price rises, tight supply lines or dramatic increases in market demand,” Guangdong’s market regulator said in a notice on Tuesday evening.

Such extreme flooding is rare for Guangdong in April. A high-ranking official connectedit to the deteriorating climate crisis, which increases rainfall as hotter climate holds more moisture.

Asia was the most disaster-prone region in the world last year, rocked by dozens of floods, storms and other climate-related calamaties, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Some 79 disasters linked to hydro-meteorological events were reported in Asia in 2023, the WMO said in a report published on Tuesday. Over 80 per cent of these were floods and storms that caused more than 2,000 deaths.