Beijing, the bustling capital of China, has been brought to its knees by an unprecedented natural calamity—an unrelenting and historic five-day deluge. The city witnessed a staggering 744.8 millimeters of rainfall, marking the highest recorded in 140 years. This torrential downpour, set in motion by the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri, has plunged streets into watery chaos and left residents stranded in its wake. Tragically, the toll stands at 21 lives lost, while 26 individuals are still unaccounted for. The havoc wreaked by this deluge has resulted in significant loss and a monumental challenge for rescue operations that are racing against time.
The Beijing Meteorological Bureau, the authority on weather phenomena, reports an astonishing 744.8 millimeters of rainfall between Saturday and Wednesday morning—a figure that eclipses all historical data dating back to at least 1883. This unprecedented meteorological event underscores the severity of the situation. The city’s characteristic dry summers were shattered by this unanticipated onslaught of rain, leaving a trail of devastation in its path.
The heart-wrenching loss of life includes a brave rescuer, Wang Hong-chun, who tragically lost her life during a rescue mission. As she navigated a treacherous, fast-flowing river, the rubber boat she was in capsized, highlighting the perilous conditions of the operation. The search for missing individuals is ongoing, underscoring the urgency of the situation.
Beijing’s neighboring province, Hebei, shares the anguish as it grapples with its own share of catastrophe. The unrelenting rainfall triggered perilous water levels, resulting in the destruction of roads, power disruptions, and a scarcity of drinking water. In the city of Zhuozhou, the crisis has forced the evacuation of nearly 850,000 individuals, underscoring the scale of the disaster.
This historic inundation shatters records, surpassing the previous benchmark established in 1891 when Beijing received 609 millimeters of rainfall. The enormity of this recent deluge is a stark reminder of the intensifying impact of climate events in recent times.
The cause of this meteorological turmoil traces back to the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri, which has now diminished into a tropical storm. However, a new threat emerges in the form of Typhoon Khanun, predicted to approach China later in the week. With surface winds reaching up to 180 kph, the storm’s trajectory potentially endangers Taiwan before setting its course for a Chinese landfall. Authorities are taking preemptive measures, including evacuation plans and disaster readiness, to mitigate the impending threat.
In response to this catastrophe, the central government has swiftly allocated 44 million yuan ($6.1 million) for comprehensive disaster relief in the afflicted provinces. The safety and well-being of affected individuals remain paramount, as thousands have been relocated to shelters in suburban Beijing and surrounding areas—primarily schools and public buildings—ensuring a semblance of security amidst the chaos.