04/01/2016, 19.24
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China’s Yangtze River to face huge, disastrous flooding, government official warns

In 1998, the Yangtze River, the longest in Asia and the fourth in the world, broke its banks, killing more than 3,000 and affecting some 220 million. Experts warns that El Niño effect could reach its peak in August, and cause a disaster.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Yangtze River, the longest in Asia and the fourth in the world, is expected to see heavy flooding at its middle section and downstream this year, warned Liu Ning, general secretary of the National Flood Prevention and Drought Relief Commanding Centre.

The impact could be as bad as the 1998 floods when more than 3,000 people died, and some 220 million were affected in 24 provinces.

The main cause of this is the El Niño effect, a periodical (five years) warming of sea surface temperatures over the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean near Latin America in December and January. Its impact can be felt as far as Asia.

Rainfall in the Yangtze River is forecast to rise 10 to 50 per cent from previous years in May, whilst some major branches of the river downstream will likely see 20 to 50 per cent more precipitation.

From June to August, the entire Yangtze River is expected to see up to 50 per cent more rain, with a 50 to 80 per cent increase at its middle section.

A week ago, heavy rains hit southern provinces, including Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangxi and Fujian, triggering alerts as water levels in many rivers rose alarmingly.

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