BEIJING-A glacial lake burst in a remote part of northwestern China last week, prompting evacuations of mountain residents and a warning from Greenpeace that climate change could trigger similar events. The lake burst its banks on Friday, sending some 35 million cubic metres of water rushing through central Xinjiang province, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency. Images from state broadcaster CCTV showed fast-running muddy water rushing down what used to be roads and waves lapping at the side of pavements.

There were no casualties in the incident.

The Tarim River basin’s water management authority said in a statement on its website that it held an emergency meeting in late July to prepare for the floods, evacuating residents and preparing channels to divert the waters.

Glacial outbursts have become more frequent since the 1980s as a result of rising temperatures, environmental group Greenpeace said in a statement, citing research by the Chinese Academy of Science. “As temperatures climb, glacial outbursts, flooding, and seasonal water shortages will only become more severe,” Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner Liu Junyan said in a statement.

Glacial lakes form when glaciers melt and run the risk of bursting their banks, devastating entire mountain communities.

There are over 46,000 glaciers in China, which environmentalists say are at high risk of bursting their banks as temperatures increase. Scientists have warned that climate change could turn northern China into a deadly inferno. Heatwaves in the region have become more intense and frequent since 1970, especially in the last 15 years.

Average temperatures in northern China have gone up 1.35 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1950, nearly double the average global increase.