Residents of Wuhan, China stayed indoors last week not because of another lockdown posed by a reemerging coronavirus threat, but because the worst flooding in decades has threatened their city.
The flooding is also impacting US supply chains for personal protective equipment, crucial to fighting the pandemic.
Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, sits along the banks of the Yangtze River, where water levels reached their fourth-highest in recorded history.
China flooding causes delays of up to three weeks
West of Wuhan in Xiantao, sits China’s largest manufacturer of nonwoven fabrics used in the production of PPE. Torrential rain has created additional barriers for exporting goods, including PPE, as some shipments may be delayed by up to three weeks, according to a report from Reuters.
“It’s just creating another major roadblock here in terms of PPE getting into the United States – it is the worst of times for it to happen but that’s what we’re dealing with right now,” Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed, told Reuters. Dealmed sources disposable lab coats and other products from Wuhan and nearby regions.
Red alerts were in place last week for Hubai, Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces as endless rain continued to batter the Yangtze River Basin.
Although flooding from monsoon rain occurs nearly every year across this part of China, the economic impact cannot be ignored as the country tries to escape the damaging effects of the lockdown posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to state news agency Xinhua, flooding through last week had caused 82.23 billion yuan ($11.76 billion USD) of economic losses in China.
More flooding expected
More flooding rain is in the forecast as an unusually strong, stationary weather boundary continues to dump additional precipitation over already ravaged areas.
It has been particularly severe across the Jiangxi and Hubei provinces lately, where an additional 50 to 150 mm (2 to 6 inches) of rain is forecast over the next five days.
The latest weather model data suggests that the heaviest of rain (more than 150-250 mm – or 6 to 10 inches – over the next 5 days) will take place across the Shandong and Hainan provinces.
Rain will also extend into North Korea and to a lesser extent, South Korea.