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Tens of Millions Battle Deadly Floods Across China

Posted by Author on July 12, 2007

Reuters, Wed Jul 11, 2007-

BEIJING (Reuters) – Tens of millions of residents across China on Wednesday were grappling with the threat or aftermath of disastrous floods that have killed at least 131 people in the past two weeks.

China’s flood season is notoriously deadly. At least 360 people have died in floods and related disasters across the country this summer and more than 4 million hectares of crops had been destroyed.

About 10,000 People’s Liberation Army troops were on standby to battle the worst flood on the Huai River — flowing through densely populated areas in central and eastern China — since 1954, state media said.

Authorities diverted water from the Huai, home to about 100 million people along its entire length, to flood dozens of evacuated villages in the eastern province of Anhui on Tuesday to ease pressure.

The 180 square kilometre area, home to 157,800 people, would suffer economic losses of 600 million yuan ($79 million) from destroyed crops, fish farms, roads and other infrastructure, Xinhua news agency said.

Water levels remained at alarming levels on Wednesday despite the release and the flooding of another three similar rural “flood reserve areas”, state television said.

The swollen Hongze Lake in the downstream province of Jiangsu was expecting 230 billion cubic metres of water, or six times its normal capacity, from the Huai, prompting the opening of an 163-km emergency canal to discharge floodwater to the Yellow Sea.

More heavy rain was forecast for the upper reaches of the Huai on Wednesday night and throughout Thursday to compound the disaster, China Central Television said, showing pictures of troops rescuing stranded villagers in speedboats.

Floods, landslides and house collapses triggered by downpours since June 28 have killed 131 people and left 31 missing in seven provinces and municipalities and forced the evacuation of 1.17 million residents, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

At least 39 of the deaths occurred after downpours across the Jialing River Valley in the southwestern province of Sichuan, which have resulted in floods in almost all the tributaries of Qujiang River, a branch of the Jialing, and triggered severe mountain torrents, mud-rock flows and landslides.

“Ferocious floods battered 40 counties along their route, submerging the downtown areas of four counties and shattering two small dams,” Xinhua said.

Authorities were rushing to restore tap water, power and cooking gas in the flooded towns and residents were cleaning up the mud in the streets, Xinhua said.

“The air-conditioner and refrigerator I just bought last month were all damaged,” Zheng Kaifu, who was inspecting the debris that used to be his house in Qu county, told Xinhua.

The central government on Tuesday allocated 232 million yuan to flood-hit provinces to battle the disaster, which has affected nearly 36 million people in the past two weeks and caused 9.9 billion yuan in direct economic lossed by Tuesday, Xinhua said.

original report from Reuters

One Response to “Tens of Millions Battle Deadly Floods Across China”

  1. […] to a previous claim here, bloggers have been as busy as Nüwa in their citizen reporting of the deadly floods that have devastated many areas in China during this summer’s rainy […]

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