S.China’s Guangdong braces for new round of heavy rainfall; traffic accidents, landslides warned
Published: May 03, 2024 02:58 PM
Photo: Xinhua

Photo: Xinhua

As recent heavy rainfalls in South China’s Guangdong Province show no signs of stopping, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Friday warned of another round of downpours set to affect the region as well as other parts of the country. Local traffic management departments have advised the public to be cautious of traffic accidents and landslides.

A blue alert for downpours was issued by the CMA, which said that the southern, eastern and central parts of the country will experience torrential rain from Friday morning to Saturday morning, as millions of people are about to embark on their return trip for the May Day holidays. 

Among the affected areas, Central China’s Hunan, Southwest China’s Guizhou, and South China’s Guangxi may have intense rains up to 100-150 millimeters. Some regions are expected to experience a maximum hourly rainfall of 40-60 millimeters, or even exceeding 70 millimeters, accompanied by thunderstorms, strong winds and hail, according to the CMA.

Eyeing the May Day holiday travel rush and challenging weather conditions, traffic management departments across the country have optimized their deployment of personnel to ensure smooth traffic flow, and spared no effort to prevent safety hazards. 

Considering the typical traffic patterns during the May Day holidays, a high volume of traffic for suburban outings and family visits is expected on Friday, leading to increased pressure on roads entering and exiting cities, suburban areas and tourist attractions. 

The traffic management departments have also issued safety warnings reminding the public to avoid traveling on routes affected by adverse weather. In the event of heavy rainfall, people must be attentive to the surrounding environment to prevent accidents including rear-end collisions, rollovers, landslides and falling rocks.

A fatal landslide occurred in the Meizhou-Dabu Expressway in Guangdong in the early hours of Wednesday, the first day of the five-day May Day holidays when the most road travels across the country were made. 

During a press conference, Meizhou authorities said that as of 3:30 pm on Thursday, the disaster had caused 48 deaths and 30 injuries.

It was the fifth official update on casualties since the landslide occurred, which saw the number of deaths and injuries rising from the initial 31 to 78.

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing led officials in charge of relevant departments to the disaster scene to guide the rescue and disaster relief work, where he stressed sparing no effort in carrying out rescue and relief work.

Efforts should be made to repair the damaged roads and restore traffic order as soon as possible, said Zhang, adding that information should be released timely in response to public concern.

Most of the fallen vehicles were buried under the soil, and the amount of soil and the depth of the burial made it impossible to be discovered immediately, said the emergency management bureau of Meizhou city. Some vehicles caught fire, further complicating the rescue operation, they said. 

An official in Meizhou told the media that based on the comparison of vehicles entering and exiting the expressway, it has been confirmed that 23 vehicles were trapped. 

However, the final number of fatalities has not been confirmed yet, the official said, emphasizing that on-site search and rescue work is still ongoing.

Except for the landslide accident in Meizhou, there have been no reports of major road traffic accidents involving five or more fatalities nationwide as of 6 pm Thursday, China Central Television reported.

Global Times