BEIJING (Reuters) – A flash flood in northwest China on Thursday night killed five villagers who were in the hills rounding up their sheep, sweeping their car into a rapidly rising river, local media reported on Friday.
A group of seven villagers in a rugged part of Gansu province were trying to herd more than 80 sheep when a sudden storm forced them to take shelter in their cars which were parked by a river, local officials told state media.
One of the cars with five villagers was swept away in the flood. The second car drove up onto a mud flat, and its two passengers eventually rescued.
The province has stepped up emergency measures in eight cities, expecting heavy rain, hail and more flash floods, the officials added.
The deaths add to the toll of a volatile summer that has brought record-breaking rain and extreme flooding in China. On Wednesday, Beijing raised the toll of flood-related deaths to 33 after Typhoon Doksuri ushered in the heaviest rain to hit the city in 140 years.
This week, in southwest Sichuan province, seven tourists taking photographs at a water conservation area died after being swept away in a surge of water from an overflowing dam.
In a separate incident, a 27-year-old woman has been missing since June 30 when a flash flood inundated a camp site, killing her friend, in the southwestern Guizhou province.
Extreme weather has hit China more frequently in recent years, raising fears about the pace of climate change.
In 2021, very cold and wet weather during an ultramarathon in Gansu killed 21 people. Many runners also suffered from hypothermia in gale-force winds.
(This story has been corrected to say that a car drove up onto a mud flat, not got carried away onto a mud flat, in paragraph 3)
(Reporting by Ryan Woo; additional reporting by Ella Cao’ editing by Robert Birsel and Miral Fahmy)
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