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Tornado in Guangzhou Leaves Five Dead and Dozens Injured

Image Credit: Screengrab from social media in Guangzhou
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While China doesn’t see tornadoes with anywhere near the frequency of the United States, they happen there more often than you may think.

A tornado wreaked havoc in the city of Guangzhou, southern China, claiming the lives of five individuals and injuring 33, according to state news agency Xinhua. The devastating natural disaster struck the Baiyun district on Saturday afternoon, April 27, causing extensive damage to 141 factory buildings. Fortunately, no residential houses collapsed amid the chaos.

Rescue efforts swiftly mobilized, with teams from various departments including emergency management, weather, fire, waterworks, and health, alongside local residents, rushing to the affected area. Xinhua reported that search and rescue operations concluded successfully.

Aerial photo showing the damage from the April 27 tornado | Image Credit: AFP

Tornadoes, though relatively uncommon in China, pose a significant threat when they do occur. Across Asia, tornadoes have been recorded, albeit infrequently. China, with its vast landmass and varied topography, is susceptible to extreme weather events, including tornadoes. According to historical records, tornadoes in China have caused considerable damage to property and loss of life. However, for context, an average year sees fewer than 100 tornadoes in China, most of which are on the lower end of the intensity scale. By contrast, the United States has an average of more than 1,200 tornadoes annually, and more EF4 and EF5 tornadoes (the highest category) than any other country. In fact, over 75% of all tornadoes on Earth occur in just eight states in the central U.S., giving it in the nickname “Tornado Alley.”

Guangzhou’s tornado isn’t the only one in recent times. In a similar incident last year, Jiangsu province in China was struck by a violent tornado during torrential rains. The tornado, spawned by the remnants of Typhoon Haikui, claimed the lives of 10 individuals. The severe weather conditions triggered massive evacuations and landslides, underscoring the destructive potential of tornadoes in densely populated areas.

The aftermath of such natural disasters underscores the importance of robust emergency response mechanisms and effective disaster preparedness strategies to mitigate the impact on affected communities.

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