Recent flooding in China has caused some people to be stranded—and led to dramatic rescues.
In the video above, both professional rescuers and helpful neighbours are shown pulling people out of harm’s way in the flood zone. Rushing water causes buildings to collapse and large trucks to be swept away at a moment’s notice.
Historically, flooding is common in south and central China during the rainy season from June through September, but the Chinese government has stated that extreme weather events like rainstorms and typhoons are happening more often in recent years. This season’s floods have killed dozens of people and displaced more than a million so far.
The China Global Television Network says search-and-rescue teams are getting better at rescuing people from floods because of better technology being developed, and the New York Times noted this as well. The Chinese government also put out a statement in May that their emergency rescue teams needed to be ready for this year’s flood season.
Extreme flooding happens when torrential downpours last for days, overwhelming rivers. It is likely being made worse by rising temperatures across the globe, since multiple studies have suggested a warming climate makes monsoons worse in Asia. China often receives heavy rains after a strong El Nino year, according to Nasa’s Earth Observatory, and studies have shown that climate change may be making El Nino stronger. However, it is hard to pinpoint a single extreme weather event as being directly caused by climate change.
In addition, the impact that floods have in the region has worsened because of changes made to the environment for development and infrastructure. Natural elements like mangroves and forests around the area’s rivers, which used to lessen the effects of rising flood waters by providing a barrier, have been removed and paved over to make way for roads and buildings.
Many people have moved to the region in recent years to find work in factories that make goods sold around the world. The flooding puts the people and the products they make at risk as well, so the potential damage is both immediate for the people there and more long-term for companies who built factories there.