ANKARA (AA) – China paid a heavy cost of at least $29 billion after the country faced worst floods, first time since 1998, a Chinese official said according to local media.
The floods affected nearly 70 million Chinese citizens across 28 provinces, Li Kungang, an official of the Emergency Management Ministry, said at a press conference Thursday, daily Global Times reported.
He said all around 751 rivers in China passed their “warning levels” and some major rivers, including the Yangtze River, Yellow River, and Taihu Lake had faced floods.
“It is the first time that three major river basins experienced a regional or above-average flood since 1998,” said Li, and warned of recurring potential floods during autumn.
It was also the first time since 2003 that China was forced to open the world's largest electricity-producing Three Gorges dam due to raging flood waters.
China is witnessing heavy rainfall this season, triggering floods in most southern parts of the country and increasing the water level in the Yangtze River which hosts Three Gorges, Wudongde, Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba dams.
The Yangtze witnessed its largest floods since 1981 due to the incessant downpour, with floods forcing authorities to evacuate more than 100,000 of the region's residents.
Zhou Xuewen, another Chinese official from the ministry, said the number of deaths due to the floods was lower this year, adding that 271 people were killed or missing due to disasters -- 49.8% lower than the average for the same period in the last five years.
The official noted that nearly 4.7 million people were shifted to safer places during the flood season, the highest number in recent years.