The month of July saw extreme temperatures in China, following heavy rainstorms in May and June that brought heavy flooding and broke historical records. Cities across China experienced extreme heatwaves in mid-July with temperatures in Shanghai reaching 40.9⁰C.
Major flooding in June had already forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in southern China and damaged homes of some 1 million people in Jiangxi province and the manufacturing hub of Guangdong.
In mid-July, rainfall amounting to almost double the July average fell in less than 48 hours, resulting in flash floods in northern and southwestern China, causing six deaths. Twelve people were reported missing. Nevertheless, there has been a gradual decline in casualties from flooding in China since 1990, as flood control and emergency response measures are gradually improved.
In June, China announced measures to boost its climate monitoring and risk prevention strategies. These measures were announced as an integral part of China’s new National Climate Adaptation Strategy , which aims to develop the country as a ‘climate resilient society’ by 2035.
The new policy document was jointly released on the 13th of June by 17 ministries, led by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. Building on the already existing 2013 National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation , the new strategy emphasises the monitoring and assessment of climate risks as well as the protection of food security and climate sensitive economic sectors such as supply chains, financial sectors and energy supply.
The policy makes direct reference to the destabilisation of the water cycle, stating that “floods and droughts, the shrinking of glaciers and permafrost, the expansion of glacial lakes and instability of water resources have been on the increase” .