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Record China flooding impacts PPE supply chain to US

CNN logo CNN 7/19/2020 By Derek Van Dam, CNN
a large long train on a highway: This aerial view shows the inundated Tianxingzhou island, which is set to be a flood flowing zone to relieve pressure from the high level of water in Yangtze River, in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on July 13, 2020. - Various parts of China have been hit by continuous downpours since June, with the damage adding pressure to a domestic economy already hit by the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images) © STR/AFP/AFP via Getty Images This aerial view shows the inundated Tianxingzhou island, which is set to be a flood flowing zone to relieve pressure from the high level of water in Yangtze River, in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on July 13, 2020. - Various parts of China have been hit by continuous downpours since June, with the damage adding pressure to a domestic economy already hit by the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Residents of Wuhan, China stayed indoors last week not because of another lockdown posed by a reemerging coronavirus threat, but because the worst flooding in decades has threatened their city.

The flooding is also impacting US supply chains for personal protective equipment, crucial to fighting the pandemic.

Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, sits along the banks of the Yangtze River, where water levels reached their fourth-highest in recorded history.

China flooding causes delays of up to three weeks

West of Wuhan in Xiantao, sits China's largest manufacturer of nonwoven fabrics used in the production of PPE. Torrential rain has created additional barriers for exporting goods, including PPE, as some shipments may be delayed by up to three weeks, according to a report from Reuters.

"It's just creating another major roadblock here in terms of PPE getting into the United States -- it is the worst of times for it to happen but that's what we're dealing with right now," Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed, told Reuters. Dealmed sources disposable lab coats and other products from Wuhan and nearby regions.

Red alerts were in place last week for Hubai, Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces as endless rain continued to batter the Yangtze River Basin.

Although flooding from monsoon rain occurs nearly every year across this part of China, the economic impact cannot be ignored as the country tries to escape the damaging effects of the lockdown posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to state news agency Xinhua, flooding through last week had caused 82.23 billion yuan ($11.76 billion USD) of economic losses in China.

More flooding expected

More flooding rain is in the forecast as an unusually strong, stationary weather boundary continues to dump additional precipitation over already ravaged areas.

It has been particularly severe across the Jiangxi and Hubei provinces lately, where an additional 50 to 150 mm (2 to 6 inches) of rain is forecast over the next five days.

The latest weather model data suggests that the heaviest of rain (more than 150-250 mm -- or 6 to 10 inches -- over the next 5 days) will take place across the Shandong and Hainan provinces.

Rain will also extend into North Korea and to a lesser extent, South Korea.

a river running through a city: A drone view of flooded Hankou Jiangtan Park caused by heavy rains along the Yangtze river on July 13, 2020 in Wuhan, China.

A drone view of flooded Hankou Jiangtan Park caused by heavy rains along the Yangtze river on July 13, 2020 in Wuhan, China.
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