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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: July 5, 2010 NO. 27 JULY 8, 2010
Disastrous Rains
Flooding begins to recede in south China, but dangers remain


LINKING AGAIN: Rescueworkers speed up repair work on the breachedChangkai dike in Jiangxi Province on June 27. The dike was breached after days of torrential rains, forcing the evacuation of 1.32 million people (JIN LIANGKAI) 

Heavy rainfall has ended in China's flood-battered south and water levels of major rivers in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces are receding, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH) said on June 27.

The emergency response had been lowered from level II to IV, but flood prevention work must not slow down since risks remained, the SFDH said.

Going better

On June 27, the Changkai dike of the Fuhe River, which was breached after days of torrential rains in Jiangxi Province, was repaired following around-the-clock efforts by more than 400 workers and soldiers.

The 347-meter-wide breach was repaired three days ahead of schedule, the provincial flood control headquarters said.

The newly-repaired section of the dike was fortified with 5,000 cubic meters of stones and 20,000 cubic meters of clay, increasing the dike's size to 36.2 meters from 33.5 meters, Xiong Zhuangzhong, a senior officer of the armed police's hydropower engineering force, told Xinhua News Agency.

"The new dike will be able to withstand increased water levels during the rainy season from July to October," said Zhang Huyu, an engineer working on the project.

The Fuhe River breached its banks for a second time on June 23, two days after another section of the dike burst, forcing the evacuation of 1.32 million people.

Almost all of local residents had been successfully evacuated from the area as of June 25 and no casualties were reported, Wu Fusheng, the city's vice party chief, told Xinhua.

These evacuees would be able to return home earlier than expected thanks to the restoration of the dike, he said.

On June 24, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the area to inspect flood fighting efforts and review disaster relief work.

Wen paid visits to flood victims and also met with military, police and firefighting forces that worked to combat the disaster.

He also asked local officials to send more relief funds and materials to the disaster-hit regions in order to ensure residents' basic living needs are met.

The provincial relief headquarters said the Jiangxi Provincial Government had allocated 24 million yuan ($3.51 million) for disaster relief.

In Changsha, capital of Hunan Province, the water level of the Xiangjiang River had dropped to 33.96 meters on June 28 from the highest 38.46 meters, 2.46 meters over the danger mark, on June 25.

Alarm remains

Water levels in Jiangxi's Ganjiang River and Poyang Lake remain higher than normal and water in Hunan's Dongting Lake are still rising.

Since June 28, the Jiangxi Provincial Government has put its relief emphases on the Yangtze River's Jiujiang section and the Poyang Lake.

Water levels in the Yangtze River's Jiujiang section and Poyang Lake had risen to 20.09 meters and 20.18 meters as of June 28.

During the latest storm that started on June 25, 603.5 mm fell in Guangdong Province's Huilai County over a six-hour period, estimated to be the highest level in hundreds of years.

Rains and floods had claimed three lives and left two others missing in the province as of June 27. Some 550,000 people had been affected and more than 80,000 were relocated, according to local disaster control authorities.

A seven-hour torrential rain lasting until 4 a.m. on June 26 hit Malong County of southwest China's Yunnan Province, filling a nearby reservoir to the brim and submerging the county, with water depths of up to 1.5 meters over some roads. Rains and floods killed one and injured 165 others. Some 55,000 people were affected and 6,000 houses were destroyed in the county, a spokesman with the county government told Xinhua on June 27.

In Nanping, southeast China's Fujian Province, rains lasted more than 10 consecutive days, affecting nearly 1.3 million people and causing economic losses of 5.5 billion yuan ($805.3 million). A total of 365,600 people had been safely relocated.

According to the SFDH, persistent heavy rains, which have devastated parts of south China, had left 379 dead and 141 missing, and resulted in direct economic losses estimated at 82.4 billion yuan ($12.1 billion) by June 26.

The torrential rains and ensuing floods have affected 68.7 million people in 22 provincial-level regions along with 4.36 million hectares of farmland, said the headquarters.


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