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Death toll rises to 30 in northern China floods

At least 10 people were killed in floods ina city near Beijing, officials said Saturday, bringing the death toll fromrecent torrential rains in northern China to at least 30.Officials reported the deaths in Baoding, about 150 kilometres (90 miles)from Beijing, adding that 18 people were missing.Storm Doksuri, a former super typhoon that hit mainland China last Friday,has brought the most severe rains to the region since records began 140 yearsago.By noon Saturday (0400 GMT), more than 600,000 of Baoding’s 11.5 millionresidents had been evacuated from areas deemed to be at risk, officials said.The torrential rain that hit northeast China on Saturday battered theprovinces bordering Russia and North Korea.A red alert remains in force in Beijing due to “geological risks” such aslandslides linked to the bad weather.Clean-up operations are ongoing after the overwhelming rainfall, whichdestroyed infrastructure and flooded entire districts.China has been hit hard by extreme weather in recent months, from record-breaking heatwaves to deadly flooding.Natural disasters caused 147 deaths or disappearances last month, China saidFriday, after the heaviest rains since records began hit the country’scapital.China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said 142 of the deaths ordisappearances recorded in July were caused by flooding or geologicaldisasters.- Streets became rivers -Dramatic aerial photographs taken by AFP of Zhuozhou on Wednesday showedshopping streets turned into rivers of brown water, while others showedfarmland in the surrounding areas completely submerged and floodwaterstretching for miles.AFP saw rescuers using boats to ferry instant noodles, bread and drinkingwater to residents who could not or did not want to leave properties engulfedby water.Millions of people have been hit by extreme weather events and prolongedheatwaves around the globe in recent weeks, events that scientists say arebeing exacerbated by climate change.Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based NGO the Institute of Public andEnvironmental Affairs, said that while the typhoon had brought the rain,rising ocean temperatures due to climate change were also causing the extremeweather.”China has suffered unprecedented extreme heatwaves since last year… Thisyear, there are record-breaking high temperatures in Northern China,” Ma toldAFP this week.”These heatwaves are linked to global warming, and this is what most climatescientists around the world tend to agree,” he said.

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