Central and southern China have experienced severe flooding in recent weeks resulting from prolonged periods of heavy rain, reported Xinhua. At least 237 people have lost their lives in the floods.

Swine sector reports losses

The flood will likely affect China’s pork supply. Aoxin Tianli Group, Inc., a leading producer of breeding pigs, market hogs and black hogs, has announced that some of its farms in WuhanCity and as well as independently operated black hog farms in Enshi Prefecture have suffered significant damage. As well as livestock deaths, there has been damage to buildings and equipment, and contamination of feed stores. Losses caused by the severe weather at Aoxin Tianli, previously known as Tianli Agritech, Inc., are estimated at around US$1.5 million.

“With the help of local rescue and relief agencies, the company is working diligently to bring the operations of our hog farms back to normal while trying to minimize the impact to our farms and prevent further damage,” said Wocheng Liu, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Aoxin Tianli last week. “While we and the other 10 million residents of the City of Wuhanare still recovering from the devastating blow of Mother Nature, we are optimistic that much of our losses due to the floods will be largely offset by a spike in pork/hog prices in coming months as widespread livestock losses make it difficult to meet the normal demand for pork in the Wuhanmarket.”

Other farming operations have also been disrupted by the severe weather. Approximately 1.9 million hectares (4.7 million acres) of cropland have been damaged. Many farmers have had to abandon their property and livestock, and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture warned that it expects food security and nutrition of poor households to be adversely affected.

Economic losses mounting

On July 5, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs estimated the economic losses at more than 38 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion) from the flooding in 11 provincial regions.

On July 11, the Ministry of Agriculture reported that 33 million people had been affected by flooding. More than 50,000 homes have been destroyed, forcing many to evacuate.

President Xi Jinping has urged caution in controlling the floods as rains continue in some regions, reported Xinhua.

Rainfall records

Wuhan City, capital of Hubei Province, has recorded cumulative rainfall between June 30 and July 6 of more than 560 millimeters (22 inches). That’s already a record and the rain has continued to paralyze parts of the city as transport, water and power supplies were halted.

Conditions appear to have eased in the last week but at the weekend, when China's meteorological authority issued a new weather alert for more heavy storms in some southern and central regions bringing up to 90mm (3.5 inches) more of rain, and further disruption of homes and transport were reported from landslides.