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Wuhan issues flooding red alert as river surges after heavy rain

The Chinese city of Wuhan has raised its flood response alert to the highest level of red after the Yangtze River continued to swell due to torrential downpours in the upper streams.

Shocking footage shows the mighty waterway seemingly hanging above the streets of the city of 11million as disaster-relief workers scrambled to build temporary dams with sandbags.

Officials in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first detected late last year, warned residents to take precautions as water levels fast approached their maximum guaranteed safety level.   

Wuhan has declared a red alert for flooding after the former coronavirus ground zero has been battered by torrential downpours. The picture taken on July 13 shows a swimmer wading through water in a local park due to heavy rains in Wuhan

Officials in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus emerged late last year, warned residents to take precautions as water levels fast approached their maximum guaranteed safety level. The picture taken on July 12 shows a group of residents looking at an inundated pavilion in the swollen Yangtze River in Wuhan as China has been battered by continuous downpours since June

Officials in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus emerged late last year, warned residents to take precautions as water levels fast approached their maximum guaranteed safety level. The picture taken on July 12 shows a group of residents looking at an inundated pavilion in the swollen Yangtze River in Wuhan as China has been battered by continuous downpours since June

The central city of Wuhan and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang declared red alerts as heavy rain swelled the city. This picture taken on July 11 shows a resident paddling near a flooded sculpture on the bank of the Yangtze River in Wuhan

The central city of Wuhan and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang declared red alerts as heavy rain swelled the city. This picture taken on July 11 shows a resident paddling near a flooded sculpture on the bank of the Yangtze River in Wuhan

The central city of Wuhan and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang have all issued red alerts as heavy rain continue to swell rivers and lakes.

Large parts of China were reeling on Friday from the worst floods in decades, as disruption mounted for supply chains, including for personal protective equipment (PPE), vital in the fight against the novel coronavirus. 

Social media footage uploaded by a Wuhan resident shows the city’s riverbanks and streets being inundated by the surging Yangtze River on Tuesday.

The city’s officials said today that the water level of the Yangtze would likely stay at around 28 metres (92 feet) ‘for a long period’. This means the river would flow at around four metres (13 feet) higher than Wuhan’s streets, which are 24 metres (78 feet) above the sea level on average.

Another clip released by People’s Daily sees dozens of cars ‘floating like boats’ in Hubei’s Enshi city after the streets are submerged by the raging floodwaters.

The central city of Wuhan and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang declared red alerts as heavy rain swelled rivers and lakes. The picture shows road and trees being partly submerged in water on the banks of the Yangtze River on July 13

The central city of Wuhan and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang declared red alerts as heavy rain swelled rivers and lakes. The picture shows road and trees being partly submerged in water on the banks of the Yangtze River on July 13

The city of Wuhan in Hubei province has declared a red alert for flooding

The former coronavirus ground zero has been battered by torrential downpours

The pictures above are screenshots of the social media footage released by a Wuhan resident showing the city’s riverbanks and streets being inundated by the surging Yangtze River on Tuesday. The former coronavirus ground zero issued a red alert

The summer rainy season brings floods to China almost every year but the impact of the disruption they cause is being felt further afield as Chinese goods become more important in global supply chains for various items, including PPE.

‘It’s just creating another major roadblock here in terms of PPE getting into the United States – it is the worst of times for it to happen but that’s what we’re dealing with right now,’ said Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed, a US medical supply distributor, which sources disposable lab coats and other products from Wuhan and nearby regions.

‘We cannot get product out for over a week, which is a very long time in our business,’ he said, adding that the delays could last up to three weeks.

Xiantao, just west of Wuhan, is China’s biggest manufacturer of non-woven fabrics used in PPE production. A third of China’s total exports of non-woven fabric products are from the city.

The summer rainy season brings floods to China almost every year

But the impact of the disruption they cause is being felt further afield as Chinese goods become more important in global supply chains

The pictures above are screenshots of another clip released by People’s Daily on Chinese TikTok-like Douyin. The devestating video sees dozens of cars ‘floating like boats’ in Hubei’s Enshi city after the streets are submerged by the raging floodwaters

'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

‘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 

With the relentless rain, more misery seems inevitable.

The giant Three Gorges reservoir, which has been holding back more water to try to ease downstream flood risks, is more than 10 metres higher than its warning level, with inflows now at more than 50,000 cubic metres a second.

The Poyang lake in Jiangxi province, which is formed from the overspill of the Yangtze, is 2.5 metres higher than its warning level. It has expanded by more than 2,000 square kilometres during thus flood season, and parts of the surrounding town have been inundated.

Further east, the Tai lake near Shanghai has also declared a red alert after its water level rose to nearly a metre higher than its safe level.

Economic activity in other parts of China, especially construction and steel and cement demand, has also been hurt by the flooding, analysts say, suggesting some loss of momentum after a stronger than expected bounce in the second quarter from the coronavirus crisis.

The giant Three Gorges reservoir, which has been holding back more water to try to ease downstream flood risks, is more than 10 metres higher than its warning level, with inflows now at more than 50,000 cubic metres a second. The picture taken on July 13 show one of the roads and trees being partly submerged in water on the banks of the Yangtze River in Wuhan city

The giant Three Gorges reservoir, which has been holding back more water to try to ease downstream flood risks, is more than 10 metres higher than its warning level, with inflows now at more than 50,000 cubic metres a second. The picture taken on July 13 show one of the roads and trees being partly submerged in water on the banks of the Yangtze River in Wuhan city

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

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

‘We estimate recent floods in Yangtze River regions could lead to a gross drag of 0.4-0.8 percentage points on third-quarter GDP growth,’ analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients on Friday. 

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.

But multiple Chinese provinces have entered ‘wartime mode’ to fight what state media called a ‘flood catastrophe’ as torrential downpours batter the country.  

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. 

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