Flood-hit northern China gears up for second typhoon in two weeks

BEIJING (Reuters) – Northern China, still grappling with swollen rivers and floodwaters caused by Typhoon Doksuri two weeks ago, is preparing for more rains with the arrival of Typhoon Khanun.

Khanun has already battered parts of Japan and the Korean Peninsula.

On Thursday, China’s northern Hebei province upgraded its emergency response to the highest level following record flooding last week in preparation for potentially damaging downpours from the newcomer.

Since late July, China’s north and northeast have been struck by widespread flooding triggered by record rainfall in the wake of Doksuri.

Hebei, part of the Haihe River basin, northern China’s largest, was lashed by more than a year’s rainfall last week, forcing the evacuation of more than 1.6 million people.

At a video conference studying the current situation, flood control authorities warned against “slacking” in strengthening inspection of flood channels and key levees, state media reported.

They also called for faster repair and restoration of key infrastructure and homes so that the lives of people can return to normal. China’s cabinet on Tuesday said it would return flood victims to their homes by winter.

Khanun, forecast to enter China from its northeast on Saturday, is expected to bring heavy rainfall in northeastern Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces as soon as Friday.

The rain will heighten flooding risk in southeastern parts of Heilongjiang, where water levels are already high and its soil saturated following the previous round of rainfall, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Many rivers in the Songhua basin spanning northeastern China remained swollen as of Thursday.

In other parts of China not directly affected by Khanun such as Gansu and Qinghai in the northwest and Yunnan and Sichuan in the southwest, authorities renewed warnings of flash floods in an unusually wet summer in China.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo and Ethan Wang; Editing by David Goodman and Angus MacSwan)