BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhua) -- China's weather forecast authorities said Tuesday that rains are expected to fall on parts of east China starting Thursday, offering some respite to a wide-ranging heat wave that had wreaked havoc across the country over the past few days.
|A boy plays with sand at the Xixiu Beach in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan |
Province, July 6, 2010. The local meteorologic authority has continuously issued
alarms against high temperature recently.(Xinhua/Guo Cheng)
From Beijing in the north to Guangzhou in the south, a number of the elderly and children were hospitalized for heat-related illnesses. Some zoo animals died or struggled to survive by laying on ice.
Also, a passenger bus caught fire in downtown Beijing and swarms of locusts blanketed a couple of dry prairies and grasslands in the north.
The National Meteorological Center (NMC) raised the heat alert to orange on Tuesday, one step before the highest level, and said at least 16 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities were enduring the extreme heat.
In Beijing, the temperature shot up to 40.6 degrees Celsius, breaking the city's early July heat record in more than 50 years. Further, the extreme high temperatures would continue in north, east and west China for the next 24 hours before rains begin to fall, the authorities said.
"Every day we have about 300 patients, 100 more than the average," Qin Jian, head of the emergency unit of Xuanwu Hospital in Beijing, said. "The wards and emergency rooms have been full right from the morning."
Qin said most of the patients were the elderly who suffered from cardiovascular diseases due to the heat.
On the 3rd Ring Road of Beijing, a passenger bus was engulfed by a blaze caused by a leak of the gas pipe due to an overheated generator. All passengers were evacuated but the bus was completely destroyed.
Huge swarms of locusts are ravaging grasslands and farmlands from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, prompting authorities to use aerial spraying of pesticides to kill the insects.