Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.
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.
Top image: Residents push a car down a flooded street in Beijing. Credit: Reuters