Beijing’s worst flooding in a decade kills at least 2 as China grapples with remnants of Typhoon Doksuri


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Beijing — Torrential rain battered China’s sprawling capital city and surrounding areas Monday for a third day, as the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri slowly churned over the region causing the worst flooding Beijing has seen in more than a decade. Two bodies were recovered from waterways in a western Beijing suburb Monday, the first causalities blamed on the rainfall, as videos on social media showed cars being washed away and buses half-submerged by muddy torrents in the area.

A massive sinkhole opened outside a newly-built shopping mall in the western part of Beijing amid the downpour, though the cause wasn’t immediately confirmed.

China’s national meteorological authorities issued a “red alert” for heavy rainfall across the capital region — only the second time the highest alert has been raised since the color-coded warning system was introduced in 2010. The alert affects tens of millions of residents in Beijing and the neighboring port city of Tianjin, as well as parts of Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and Henan provinces.

A man wades past a car damaged by flooding after heavy rains in the Mentougou district of western Beijing, China, July 31, 2023.


Across Beijing an average of seven inches of rain fell between Saturday night and Monday afternoon, but state media said a deluge of 23 inches had fallen in one part of the capital.

The scenes reminded locals of a similar flooding disaster in July 2012 that left 79 people dead — a toll that authorities initially tried to cover up, leading to protests both on and offline.

Local administrations in and around the capital appeared to have been better prepared this time. About 31,000 people were evacuated from areas considered high risk in Beijing and residents elsewhere were urged to either work or study from home.

Tourist attractions including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Universal theme park were closed and dozens of flights were canceled out of Beijing’s two main airports.

Water gushes on a flooded street following Typhoon Doksuri in Beijing
Cars are partially submerged as water gushes down a flooded street as the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri hit the Mentougou district, in western Beijing, China, July 31, 2023, in a still image obtained from social media video.


Authorities did not release initial estimates on the financial losses caused by the inundations, but they noted that such torrential rains could flatten crops and flood low-lying farm fields.

The rainfall was forecast to start weakening across the region by Tuesday, but another typhoon is already on its way. East China’s Zhejiang province has already launched emergency response operations as Typhoon Khanun approaches.

The powerful storm is expected to move across Japan’s southwest regions of Okinawa and Amami and head for China in the coming days soon.

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