Lifeguards in central China were searching Wednesday for nine people left missing in a landslide amid widespread flooding in much of the country.
The disaster struck Huangmei county in Hubei province at around 4 a.m., according to rescue services. Forty other people were rescued and moved to shelter, they said.
This year’s annual floods come as China appears to have won at least a temporary victory over the coronavirus outbreak that is believed to have originated in Hubei’s provincial capital of Wuhan late last year.
The floods have left more than 120 people dead or missing across several provinces.
State broadcaster CCTV showed scenes of towns inundated with head-high waters in parts of Anhui province. Waters rose above warning levels in 19 rivers, five lakes and more than 400 reservoirs in Anhui, a mountainous inland region just west of Shanghai and other major urban centers along the east coast.
Nearly 30,000 people were evacuated in Hubei’s Huanggang city after water started seeping from a reservoir, prompting emergency workers to shore up the structure and dig a channel to release the overflow.
The flooding has forced the rescheduling of portions of the crucial four-day national college entrance exams for some students. The test had already been delayed for a month because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Anhui and neighboring Hubei appear to have been hit hardest by this summer’s seasonal rains. Damage has been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, adding to pressure on a national economy still reeling from the effects of virus-related shutdowns and the loss of overseas markets.
Key tourist destinations in China’s south have sustained flood damage that is compounding financial stress caused by the massive drop-off in visitor numbers.