China floods: 20 dead and 27 missing in Beijing after days of rain

Rescuers have had to evacuate thousands of people in Beijing and across China as flooding causes devastation, ITV News' Geraint Vincent reports

At least 20 people are dead and 27 are missing following days of heavy rain and flooding in the mountains surrounding Beijing, according to China's state media.

The days of downpours have led to thousands of people fleeing their homes, train stations being closed and people being evacuated from schools and gyms, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Tuesday.

Homes have been flooded, roads torn apart and cars piled into stacks, in the torrents of water.

July's high level of rainfall is very rare for Beijing, which usually has a moderate, dry climate.

Indicating the level of urgency, President Xi Jinping issued an order for local governments to go “all out” to rescue those trapped and minimise the loss of life and damage to property.

Flooding in other parts of northern China that rarely see such large amounts of rain have led to scores of deaths.

People walk through a village damaged by floodwaters in the Mentougou District Credit: AP

While the natural disaster is an annual occurrence in parts of china, this year some northern regions have reported the worst floods in 50 years.

State media reported that 11 people died and 27 are missing in the mountains to the west of Beijing's city centre.

Nine other deaths were reported in Hebei province, just outside the metropolis and the source of much of its food and labour.

More than 500,000 people have been impacted by the floods, state broadcaster CCTV said, without saying how many had been moved to other locations.

In early July, at least 15 people were killed by floods in the southwestern region of Chongqing.

Some 5,590 people in the far northwestern province of Liaoning had to be evacuated.

Residents walk near a vehicle washed away by flood waters in the Mentougou district on the outskirts of Beijing. Credit: AP

In the central province of Hubei, rainstorms have trapped residents in their vehicles and homes.

People living in Beijing have been told, by the city's flood control authority, to stay indoors and not go into work as the rainstorms have continued to grip the capital since Saturday.

A red alert was issued by Beijing officials, forecasting flooding along the Dashihe River in Fangshan district on Monday afternoon.

China’s deadliest and most destructive floods in recent history were in 1998, when 4,150 people died, most of them along the Yangtze River.

In 2021, more than 300 people died in flooding in the central province of Henan.

Record rainfall inundated the provincial capital of Zhengzhou on July 20 that year, turning streets into rushing rivers and flooding at least part of a subway line.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.