Reuters

Large sections of Beijing were inundated this weekend as the heaviest rains in 61 years drenched the city.

The streets of Beijing were inundated with water over the weekend, as the city experienced its heaviest rains on record since 1951. More than 6 inches on average fell between Saturday and Sunday, flooding many streets and neighborhoods and killing at least 37. Some areas, like the Fangshan district, saw more than 18 inches, according to the BBC. About 60,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes, 500 flights were cancelled and more than 80,000 travelers were stranded at the city's international airport, according to the state news agency.

While this is the worst example in recent times, floods have become relatively common in China's big cities, including Beijing. Though extreme rainfall is certainly a major factor, many have also laid blame on inadequate drainage systems and infrastructure. This article from Xinhua notes that much of the city's infrastructure is incapable of handling large rain events, and is further hindered by blockages in pipes. A recent investigation found that up to half of the city's drainage pipes are clogged by sediment that fills between 10 and 50 percent of the pipes' diameters.

The government estimates that about 1.9 million people were affected by the flooding, which caused more than $1.6 billion in damages.

A woman pushes her bicycle down a flooded street in Beijing. REUTERS/China Daily
A woman walks past an area damaged by floods after heavy rainfalls hit Long Bao Yu Village, Fangshan district, near Beijing. REUTERS
Workers paddle towards a partially submerged car in a flooded roadway. A bus and other vehicles are seen in the background, nearly completely submerged. REUTERS/China Daily
Residents sit amidst debris and damaged vehicles in the aftermath of a flood caused by heavy rainfalls which hit their home in Wa Jing Village, at Fangshan district near Beijing. REUTERS
With rain still falling, onlookers stand in floodwaters up to their ankles as workers attempt to retrieve a stranded car from a flooded street under the Guangqumen overpass in central Beijing. REUTERS
Rescue workers wade into the middle of a flooded street near the Guangqumen overpass in central Beijing, as a line of people watch from water's edge. REUTERS
Workers pump out water from a flooded street in the night, as a lone bus sits stranded and partially submerged. REUTERS
A man sits near a flooded highway in the Fangshan district of Beijing as he waits for the waters to subside enough to retrieve his car. REUTERS
A young student at a military school in Beijing stands on a stool above the muddy ground and street left behind after floodwaters subsided. REUTERS

Top image: Residents push a car down a flooded street in Beijing. Credit: Reuters

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